morality

Torture in Our Name: A Moral Call to End Solitary Confinement

Please join us for a film screening and discussion about how survivors of solitary confinement and religious communities are working together to abolish torture once and for all. Join live via Zoom or Facebook!

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hIAox0YhQOCLvRJgLqxMHA

Religions for Peace (RFP) USA is the largest and most broadly-based representative multi-religious forum in the United States, with participants from more than 50 religious communities, representing each of the major faith traditions. The organization identifies shared commitments among religious communities in the U.S., enhances mutual understanding among these communities, and facilitates collaboration to address issues of common concern.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@yahoo.com. For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit crngo.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns, please visit csvgc-ny.org. For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org

The Climate Emergency: Does Religion Matter?

You are invited to “The Climate Emergency: Does Religion Matter?”, the latest installment of the Temple of Understanding’s ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL Dialogues. These are special intimate discussions about the climate emergency with international ChangeMakers.

ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews and dialogues are ongoing programs presented by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues.

Register here!

Speakers:

Rabbi Ellen Bernstein is an eco-theologian, spiritual leader, writer and creative. She founded Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, the first national Jewish environmental organization in 1988. Her books include Let the Earth Teach You Torah, Ecology and the Jewish Spirit, and The Splendor of Creation. Ellen also created the first ecologically-centered Tu B’Sh’vat (Jewish New Year of theTrees) seder in 1988 and popularized Tu B’Sh’vat as a community-wide inter-spiritual ecological arts celebration for all peoples. Her most recent book, The Promise of the Land, A Passover Haggadah is the first comprehensive, ecological haggadah (guidebook) for Passover (Behrman House, 2020). In 2020 during the pandemic, Ellen launched the Earth Seder movement, helping to organize several dozen world-wide Earth Seders on Zoom. Ellen continues to write and teach on the ecology of the Hebrew Bible, and serves on the advisory board of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. To learn more please visit ellenbernstein.org and thepromiseoftheland.com.

Theodore Hiebert writes about biblical perspectives on the environment and about biblical views of identity and difference. His book The Yahwist’s Landscape: Nature and Religion in Early Israel challenges claims that the Bible privileges humans and separates them from nature, and it shows how biblical religion is grounded in the natural world. He has made contributions about biblical perspectives on nature to such works as The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet, and Interpretation. He is the author of the article on Genesis for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Ecology. Ted was the lead translator of the Book of Genesis and one of the editors for the recent English translation, the Common English Bible (CEB). He wrote the notes to Genesis for the CEB Study Bible and for the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, based on the New Revised Standard Version. He is the Old Testament editor for Abingdon Press’s Covenant Bible Study. Ted also writes about biblical views of identity and difference. His book The Beginning of Difference: Discovering Identity in God’s Diverse World challenges exclusivist cultural interpretations of the book of Genesis and reveals a text that embraces and celebrates ethnic identities and differences. It contains a reinterpretation of the story of Babel as positive account of the origin of the world’s cultures. God’s Big Plan, which he co-authored with Elizabeth Caldwell, is a children’s story of Babel based on this new interpretation. Ted is currently at work on a study of the book of Genesis as migration literature. Ted is a member of the Mennonite Church and has served as pastor of the Boston Mennonite Congregation. He is a frequent lecturer and teacher in adult education programs in churches in the Chicago area. He is Francis A. McGaw Professor of Old Testament and Dean of the Faculty Emeritus at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and lives in Homewood, IL.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit congocsd.wordpress.com.

COP26 Outcomes: A Conversation from an Ethical and Human Rights Perspective

The Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights (GIF) invites you to attend a webinar on COP26 Outcomes – A Conversation from an Ethical and Human Rights Perspective

10 December 2021 (Friday), 13h00 to 14h15 CET 

Link to join: COP 26 outcomes and debriefing – YouTube

Panelists

· Mr. Vice Yu, South Centre, Loss and Damage Lead Negotiator  for G77+China

· Ms. Eileen Mairena, CADP, Active Observer of the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund

· Ms. Amanda Kron, OHCHR Associate Expert on Climate Change

· Ms. Alexandra Goossens-Ishii, Soka Gakkai International and GIF

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit congocsd.wordpress.com

What the world religious leaders are doing about the climate crisis

Hosted by the Temple of Understanding, on Oct. 28. Rev. Fletcher Harper and Rev. Brian McGurk will dialogue about the recent “Faith and Science Toward COP26” meeting convened by Pope Francis with 40 world religious leaders and also comment on the Interfaith program called “Faith Plans for People and the Planet” which aims at leveraging religious groups’ assets and investments.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper is an Episcopal priest and the Executive Director of GreenFaith, a global multi-faith climate and environmental justice network. An internationally recognized author, speaker, and pioneer of the worldwide religious environmental movement, he has been a leading voice in the faith community’s response to the climate crisis for the last two decades. He has worked with diverse faith leaders around the world, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Rev. Harper is the co-founder of “Shine”, an international campaign that brings together bold innovators to overcome the threat of entrenched poverty and climate change, and to achieve universal access to affordable and reliable energy. He spearheads the faith-based fossil fuel divestment movement around the world, is one of the faith leaders of the “People’s Climate Marches”, and plays a leading role in the “Interfaith Rainforest Initiative”, a campaign organizing religious communities to fight tropical deforestation and protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Rev. Harper is the author of “GreenFaith: Mobilizing God’s People to Protect the Earth.”

Rev. Brian McGurk has served as the Rector of St. Christopher’s Church, Chatham, since 2003, and as the Dean of the Cape Cod and Islands Deanery (2004–14). In the Diocese of Virginia he was the Chairman (of the Board) of the Peter Paul (Children and Youth) Development Center (Richmond); Co-chair of the Virginia Diocesan Commission for South African Partnership; a member of the Overseas Mission Committee and the Diocesan Executive Board. He has led and participated in several mission trips to South Africa and Kenya, and is a graduate of Trinity College and Yale University Divinity School.

ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews and dialogues are ongoing programs produced by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues.

Register here!

__________________________________________________________________________________________CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns-NY, please visit facebook.com/groups/1637987226437203. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit congocsd.wordpress.com.

Panel Discussion on Deepening Inequalities Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic and their Implications for the Realization of Human Rights

Join us at HRC48 for this half-day panel discussion on 28 September from 15:00 to 17:00 CET.

Background documents, the concept note and full agenda are available here: ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Panel_Discussion_Inequalities_COVID19.aspx

Date and venue:

Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 3 to 5 p.m. Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva and online platform (Zoom)

To be webcast live and archived at http://webtv.un.org

Objectives:

As States work to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic, this panel discussion will address inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and their implications for the realization of human rights. This discussion aims to identify ways to alleviate inequality within and among States by sharing best practices, solutions to challenges and lessons learned, including in the context of integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – paying particular attention to Goal 10 on reducing inequality. The meeting will also address the role of greater international cooperation in further reducing inequalities within and among States.

The objectives are:

  • To highlight and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the goal to reduce inequality, with a particular emphasis on the requirement of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health to eliminate vaccine inequality. Recognition that no one is safe until everyone is safe will also be looked at from a human rights perspective as will the necessity of vaccine equality in promoting and protecting all human rights;
  • To identify the role of the promotion and protection of human rights and technical cooperation in setting priorities and addressing gaps in the global vaccine roll out. The focus will be on the importance of the human rights approach in addition to the moral and ethical case;
  • To understand how to better use the United Nations human rights mechanisms to advance vaccine equality as a necessary step in the promotion and protection of all human rights and how to provide technical cooperation in this regard;
  • To address how the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the digital divide – using education to illustrate how the divide detrimentally affects the realisation of human rights – and to engage in a constructive dialogue among States and other stakeholders about sharing good practices and experience with regard to overcoming the digital divide and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all;
  • To identify concrete steps for building back better, including by reversing the impact of austerity and economic inequalities and realising a human rights-based economy.

Organized by:

Development Economic Social issues Branch
Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee for Rare Diseases, please visit ngocommitteerarediseases.org.

Global Interfaith Dialogue on Food Systems

In the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit later in September,  the Global Inter-faith Dialogue on Food Systems builds up on the dialogue held in July, aiming to bring together faith-based organisations, Indigenous communities, and others whose work is grounded in values and spirituality and who play an essential role in the sustainable transformation of the food systems. 

Register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEqcO-vqzMiGNDWKYK3YiRDYqg0G0IkyAL7

The specific objectives of the consultation are: 

1. Promote engagement and partnerships between faith-based organisations, indigenous peoples, governments, multilateral organisations, and corporations for more sustainable and just food systems

2.  Facilitate conversation around the role of values, ethics, and belief systems into new and better food systems, with a focus on areas for action

Expected outputs:

1. Increased awareness of the important role of faith, values, and belief systems in food systems transformation

2. Lift up good practices and areas for collective action between the work of faith-based, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders in support of achieving the SDGs by 2030

3. An interfaith reflection and a Statement for a sustainable food system   

Co-Convenors: Dr. Agnes Kalibata, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy of the 2021 Food Systems Summit, and Andrew Schwartz, Director of Sustainability and Global Affairs, Center for Earth Ethics.  Curator: Dr. Manoj Kurian, Coordinator, World Council of Churches- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

The programme will have brief inputs from key discussants and there will be a substantial session for group work and reporting. The discussants include Ms. Karenna Gore, Director of the Center for Earth Ethics, Rev. Andrew Morley, President and CEO, World Vision International, and ordained curate of the Anglican Church, Ms. Lyla June Johnston, representing Indigenous Peoples, Mr. Anwar Khan, President, of Islamic Relief USA and  Bishop Rev. Dr. Sabu K. Cherian, from the Church of South India.

As part of the output, an interfaith Reflection and Statement that is addressed to the UN Food Systems Summit  will be introduced and be read by Mr. Steve Chiu – Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation and Dr. Meera Baindur – Associate Professor (Philosophy), Department of Arts, Manipal University Jaipur.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org.

FORUM2021 Sacred Food ~ Blessed Earth

In solidarity with other NGO’s offering a strong critique of the fall UN Food Summit, FORUM2021 explores the potential of local regenerative agriculture, highlights the growing organic farming movement and offers an interfaith moral call to redressing the harm caused by agribusiness, the industrialization of the world’s food production system.
FORUM2021 explores the ancient, respectful and regenerative ways of farming practices and our spiritual relationship to food by focusing on the Earth as an interconnected web of life. A moral and spiritual voice is essential in the transition away from the industrialized, fossil fuel and chemical intensive, global agriculture system which is degrading our Earth, contributing to the climate crisis and to the extinction of species, as well as creating severe health issues for all living beings. FORUM2021 is a call to all spiritual and religious leaders and activists for a return to local, biodiverse organic food systems which regenerate soil, water and biodiversity while providing healthy sustenance for all. Learn more & register here!

Opening Prayer & Welcome

  • Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle for the Great Sioux Nation

Welcome from the Temple of Understanding

  • Chris Wang, Temple of Understanding Board Member

Chief Oren Lyons Keynote Address

  • Chief Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Member Chief of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs and the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosaunee Peoples

Dr. Vandana Shiva Keynote Address: Reclaiming Ancient Wisdom to Protect Our Future

  • Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder, Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (India) and President of Navdanya International, world-renowned environmental thinker, activist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer and science policy advocate

International Activists on Regenerative Farming Panel

  • Darcy Neill, (Moderator), Temple of Understanding Board Member
  • Kathryn Manga, Project Coordinator, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines, Philippines
  • Adelita San Vicente Tello, Director of Primary Sector & Renewable Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, Mexico
  • Daniel Wanjama, Coordinator, Seed Saver Network, Kenya

Scientists on the Impact of Industrialized Agriculture Dialogue

  • Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Faith-Based Farming in the United States Panel

  • Rev. Susan Hendershot, (Moderator), Interfaith Power & Light, USA
  • Edgar Hayes & Anne Rader, Freedom Farm Community NY
  • Clayton Harvey, Ndée Bikíyaa (Peoples’ Farm), AZ
  • Shani Mink, Jewish Farmer Network, NC
  • Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm, NY

Sacred Food from an Interfaith Perspective

  • Rev. Jim Antal, denominational leader, climate activist, author and public theologian, special advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ
  • Mary Evelyn Tucker, Senior Lecturer & Research Scholar, Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Divinity School, Department of Religious Studies

Global Interfaith Prayer Service + Prayers and Offerings

  • Rev. Dr. Michael Bos
  • Imam Saffet Catovic
  • Samir Chatterjee & Steve Gorn
  • Rabbi Ephraim Isaac
  • Chief Arvol Looking Horse
  • Grandmother Mona Polacca
  • Rev. John Vaughn and more to be announced!

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org.

Faith + Biodiversity briefing

Dear colleagues,
At our June 30th Faith and Biodiversity meeting we agreed to meet every 3-4 weeks to share updates and progress towards the CBD COP15. Over the past few weeks our Faith and Biodiversity Working Group has been working hard drafting a response to the First Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. We plan to finalize our response by late August in order to submit it to the next round of negotiations, due to start on August 23rd.
We would like to invite you to a call on Thursday, August 5th, 10am ET, for a presentation on the key items our group have identified that we feel need to be included in the First Draft of the GBF from a faith perspective. Zoom details are below.
Meeting ID: 528 839 2946
Passcode: Bhumi
 
Many thanks, Bhumi Global
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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

The UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June marks the moment in 1987 when the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, one of the key instruments in fighting torture, came into effect. Today, the Convention has been ratified by 162 countries.

Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. Despite the absolute prohibition of torture under international law, torture persist in all regions of the world. Concerns about protecting national security and borders are increasingly used to allow torture and other forms of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment. Its pervasive consequences often go beyond the isolated act on an individual; and can be transmitted through generations and lead to cycles of violence.

The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings.

Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances. This prohibition forms part of customary international law, which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a State has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity.

On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

26 June is an opportunity to call on all stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and individuals everywhere to unite in support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org/about.

Memory at risk: the importance of genocide archives for justice, remembrance, research and education

Beyond the long shadow: engaging with difficult histories is a live discussion series organized by the United Nations Department of Global Communications. The series is organized by the Outreach Programme on the transatlantic slave trade and slaverythe Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, and the Outreach Programme on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the United Nations. The aim of the collaborative series is to develop a deeper understanding of the legacies of these painful histories – and through examining the past, consider how best to build a world that is just, where all can live in dignity and peace.

Join us for the 5th installment of this Live Discussion Series:

Memory at risk: the importance of genocide archives for justice, remembrance, research and education

Archives play a crucial role in genocide remembrance and education and have been essential for legal procedures and conflict transformation processes in the aftermath of genocide. Establishing comprehensive archives in post-genocide societies can be a challenge, as well as ensuring the continuous preservation of artifacts and documents, and their accessibility to the public.

In a context of increasing disinformation, archives as places of authentic historical information, are an important counterbalance to narratives that seek to distort or deny genocidal pasts and form an important basis for informed research and education.

Register here: https://unesco-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_R2NKoD1CR2aIVHXygJKYVA

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.