Asia Pacific Justice and Peace (APJP) workshop tackles Migration, Anti-trafficking, Economic and Ecological Justice and Care for the Earth
Present also were Srs. Maria Rose Chinnappan, the Justice and Peace link person with the Asia Pacific Circle, Sr. Joan Lopez, Province leader of Singapore/Malaysia, the host country, and Sr. Winifred Doherty, the Congregation’s NGO representative at the UN. Sr Stella Mangonafrom Saipan was also invited to be a participant.
The theme of the workshop was: Creating New Pathways for Justice in the Asia Pacific Region. There were three objectives:
1. To establish a clear and strong sense of identity as the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Justice and Peace Network.
2. To develop an overview of the issues of current concern in the different countries in the region and to share something of the rich diversity of the cultures in Asia Pacific.
3. To provide a venue for discussion of current issues around the four justice priorities of the region: Migration, Anti-trafficking, Economic Justice and Care for the Earth. To articulate a clear statement of principles and common actions as the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Justice and Peace Network.
Australia/Aotearoa New Zealand
Mid North America (Saipan)
Australia/Aotearoa New Zealand
The first day focused on the reports from the countries represented. The initiatives taken in each to address the needs of people suffering poverty and oppression were inspiring. Participants became aware of the particular challenges being faced by Good Shepherd in various parts of our region. The 12th June was Independence Day for the Philippines and this was celebrated in the evening Mass. Sr. Maureen Catabian RGS
Sr. Maureen Catabian RGS
The second day provided participants with a very comprehensive and clear overview of the impact of globalization on the Asia Pacific Region, presented by a guest speaker, Rosario Bella Guzman of the IBON Foundation. Rosario focused particularly on the four priority areas of the Asia Pacific Region: Human Trafficking, Migration, Poverty/Economic Justice and Ecological Justice. This presentation was valuable background material for the four workshop groups that then met to work on the causes and effects of each of these issues and to devise plans of action for Good Shepherd in the region. In the last session of the day, Judith Koh gave a talk on “Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific”. This very full day ended with the Solidarity Night – an opportunity for much fun, laughter and cultural sharing and a delicious meal prepared by Good Shepherd lay partners in Kuala Lumpur.
On the third day, Sr Winifred presented a very clear overview of the Good Shepherd Justice and Peace Office in New York and of her role with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the UN. There was plenty of opportunity for participants to ask questions and Winifred demonstrated the relevance of Good Shepherd representation on ECOSOC to Good Shepherd ministries in the region. The role of the NGO designate in Bangkok was also clearly explained. Participants all expressed great satisfaction with this day which will hopefully lead to greater engagement by the region with Winifred’s work in the UN.
The fourth day was the time to firm up the plans generated by the workshop groups on day two. Each workshop group was asked to narrow down their plans to one concrete plan that they believed they could work on in the next year. In brief, the plans were as follows:
· Human Trafficking: A comprehensive program of awareness raising actions targeted at the community as a whole.
· Migrants: A program of awareness raising and advocacy targeted at employers and employer groups.
· Poverty/Economic Justice: A strategy aimed at ensuring fair and just employment practices in all Good Shepherd communities, organizations and projects in our region, as part of a process of ensuring good practice in our own facilities before tackling unjust practices in the wider community.
· Ecological Justice: Awareness raising activities targeted at Good Shepherd communities, agencies and projects and also at the wider community.
A member of the Core Team will work with each issue group to assist in keeping up the momentum to action.
There was also discussion of the need to integrate work for change in oppressive social structures with our direct service ministries and participants felt the need for training in this area.
The workshop concluded with a biblical theological reflection and a liturgy during which participants committed themselves to the mission of justice and peace.
Participants expressed general satisfaction with the workshop and gratitude to the Kuala Lumpur community and to Gloria Bon and the lay partners for their hospitality, care and assistance and for the enjoyable outings that were arranged on two of the evenings. All said they felt newly energized to continue their mission as justice and peace contact persons.
- Sr. Anne Manning RGS (for the Asia Pacific Justice and Peace Network)