Thursday, January 24, 2008


December 10 marks the international
commemoration of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
This day should remind us that as God’s creation
we are “all created in the likeness and image of
God “(Genesis 1:2), and therefore have equal
rights to live and enjoy dignified lives. With this
comes a responsibility to ensure that the rest of
humanity experience the same gift from God,
and when conditions are otherwise, Christian
communities are called to “Speak up for people
who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the
rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them
and be a righteous judge. Protect the right of
all the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9). This
is the prophetic mission of the SCM today. We
are called to be God’s channel of peace, justice
and hope in the midst brokenness in the world.

These last few months of 2007 have been
disturbing for many of us living in this part of
the world. We have seen how the Burmese
Military Junta violently quelled the people’s
peaceful voices of resistance in September. The
arrest of lawyers and human rights activist,
following the declaration of martial law by
President Muzzharaf in Pakistan in October, and
the continuing cases of disappearances and
extra-judicial killings in the Philippines and Sri
Lanka. In all these countries, the state or the
powers that be are the principal violator of
human rights, noting that these countries are
original signatories of the UDHR in 1948.

In this issue of PRAXIS, we have printed the
analysis made by the Asia Pacific People’s
Partnership on Burma (APPPB) on the aftermath
of the so-called Maroon Revolution in Burma.
APPPB represents the largest coalition of groups
and NGOs working inside and outside Burma.
In their statement, they highlighted the role of
the 88 Generations of Students Group in
gradually building the awareness of people to
assert their rights and the continuing struggle
finally bring democracy to Burma. The biblical
reflection contains the liturgy prepared by the
WSCF HR Committee on the theme of human
rights. Women’s Space is the story of Doman,
an indigenous young Filipino woman, whose
husband was a victim of the extra-judicial killings
in the Philippines. She narrates her healing
journey and how she is coping with life as a
young single mother of two after the tragic
death of her husband.

As we celebrate the advent season, let us be
reminded of the meaning of the birth of Jesus
Christ in the context of the suffering of people
whose rights to life are denied. Let us celebrate
Christmas with hope for justice and peace and
a better world for the future.
Makabuluhang Pasko sa Lahat! (Meaningful
Christmas to All!)

Necta Montes Rocas
Regional Secretary

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Irom Sharmila Video

Irom Sharmila is a young woman of Manipur who has been on a fast-to-death for nearly 7 years now. She has been demanding the removal of a brutal law from her land. Manipur is a north-east Indian state (bordering Myanmar), riven for decades by insurgency and armed separatist movements. The Government of India has attempted to control the situation militarily, granting drastic powers to the security forces. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act enforced in the region lets people be arrested, shot and even killed - on suspicion alone. But Sharmila is willing to stake everything -- even her life -- to restore justice and dignity to her people.