The Nobel Peace Prize has been regarded as the highest reward on human morality. This year prize is to be awarded to two fighters on human rights, who spare no efforts to protect children and youth from suppression and actively fight for the rights of children. According to the press release of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, 60% of the present population in the poor countries of the world is under 25 years of age. Children must go to school and not be financially exploited. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.
[ePrayer – Pray for Afghan government and women]
A new law that banned relatives from testifying against each other was passed by parliament in Afghanistan last month. It awaits final signature from President Hamid Karzai but arouses many concerns. However, Hamid Karzai has recently ordered changes to the draft legislation that would have silenced victims of violence. It may signal a new turn.
The new criminal code, passed by the conservative-dominated Afghan parliament, will prevent relatives of alleged abusers from testifying against them. The consequence is making prosecutions more difficult on domestic violence against women, where relatives are often the only witnesses.
Afghanistan in 2009 enacted its “Elimination of Violence Against Women law” (EVAW) which criminalises domestic violence, forced and child marriage, women persecution, practices that use females to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women. This new Afghan law is thus a backward step in the advance towards justice.
Afghan women faced unfair treatment when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. It is expected that this situation will be improved after the fall of the Taliban. Yet, according to various surveys, women’s rights are still at risk. It is believe that it is an attack on women’s rights if no amendments are made. [Guardian, BBC, UN]
Meditate on Hymn:
‘By the Powers for Good’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzqOcwYawJY)
It is the final poem of Dirtrich Bonhoeffer in 1944 and later transcribed into a hymn. This is a part of its lyrics:
‘Wonderfully secured by good powers, confidently we expect what may come. God is among us in the evening and in the morning and [so] completely certainly on each new day.’
Afghan women suffer from many difficulties, and their rights and contributions are ignored. They can only strive for their lives. It will be a long journey to see that their situations are improved. May we persist in the faith and hope in our Almighty God and constantly remember them in prayers.
Pray for Afghan government and women, that:
- Afghan government amends the legislation code to allow relatives testifying each other so those acting violence against women can be penalized;
- Afghanistan makes efforts to improve its justice and human rights so women and girls’ rights are secured and legalized;
- Afghan women will gain rights and access to education, work and decision making, developing their talents and living out their value of life and dignity.
[ ‘SHARE’ Nov-Dec 2013 – Life Impacting Life ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER
Author> Alice Kwan, Senior Education and Promotion Officer*
When I gave birth to my first child, friends would ask, ‘What expectations do you have for your child?’
As a mother, I hope that my two sons will be Christians who care for the world.
I first stepped into CEDAR’s office twelve years ago, and the words ‘Eyes on His world’ caught my attention. To Hong Kong people who have easy access to global news and information, it seems to be no challenge for us to learn about the world, and we even think that the world revolves around us! But this is not so. Once, when I was to write about Afghanistan I realized that I knew nothing about it apart from ‘911’ and ‘Taliban’. When I participated in outside conferences, people talked about years of civil war in Sri Lanka and yet I was confused with the names of the warring parties and could hardly take in the torrent of data and information.
In order to encourage my children to have a global view, every time before a trip abroad I would sketch a simple map so they would have an idea of where their mother was going. I also find interesting newspapers reports around the world and share with them so that their world is not confined to the small screen before their eyes.
Recently I tried to talk with the children about the damage caused by the two-year old civil war in Syria. Military use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians aroused international concerns and denunciations and many nations considered sending troops to Syria. Yet, neighbouring countries warned of attacking Israel should Syria be threatened. How should I explain such complexities to my children? Who is the hero and who the villain? I could not say. Just when I was battling inside, my children prayed in their innocence, ‘Dear Father God, please protect the Syrians, they need You, please love them. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.’ Isn’t that the purpose of God willing us to set our eyes on His world? I thank my children for reminding me of this.
CEDAR’s ‘Eyes on His World’ reminds us that we are to set our eyes on Father God’s world. May we start to nurture this mentality in our children from a young age, to keep Father God’s will.
* On 15 October, Alice finished her long stint at CEDAR, she joined a new ministry with her husband and two little sons, to continue caring for the world and the poor.