(CEDAR’s Project Officer Pui Shan visits a Rohingya family in Cox’s Bazar. The mother, who gave birth to a newborn baby, heard about infant vaccination service during regular household visit conducted by community health workers.)
While strolling through a muddy and dusty field, CEDAR’s Project Officer Pui Shan saw rows of tents sitting next to each other that were simply built by timber and canvas.
In 1814, Napoleon lost and Paris fell; in 1914, World War I started; it’s now 2014 and humans still have yet to learn from history. There are people being plunged into an abyss of misery and our land is beset by war. From the news and messages circulating on online communication media, people are extremely concerned about the brutalities of ISIS, an extremist Islamic organisation in Iraq. Children and civilians are killed or forced to leave their home in great fear. The world has no idea how to bring this to an end.
[ePrayer – Pray for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka]
5 years ago, Sri Lankan Government forces overwhelmed the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), ending a brutal civil war that wrought a death toll estimated at about 80,000. But the mayhem-filled final few months of the 26-year-long conflict, and its lingering violence continue to haunt the country, amid accumulating reports of human rights abuses targeting the Tamil minority. Tensions between the Tamils (Hindus by religion) and the Sinhalese (Buddhists) dominated Government date back to 1948 when the island gained independence from Britain. A separatist movement, agitating for a Tamil homeland in the north and east, began in the 1960s. An all-out war exploded in 1983. The LTTE started a violent fight against the Government. In 2009, Government forces launched a major offensive against the LTTE. The LTTE, along with about 300,000 civilians were pushed into ever-decreasing parcels of land. Conditions were dire and the UN estimates that some 40,000 civilians lost their lives. On 17 May 2009, the Government declared victory.
In recent years, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has twice urged the Government to independently and creditably investigate violations of human rights law. The Government has, however, failed to do so.This March, UNHRC resolved to request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged abuses of human rights by both parties in Sri Lanka at the end of the war. Sri Lanka has said that it will not cooperate with the investigation.A UN report affirmed that the Government forces shelled civilians indiscriminately during the conflict, indulged in summary executions and committed rape. Since the end of the war, there have been widespread allegations of repression, torture, and a culture of impunity. The Government has flatly rejected such charges.Opponents talk of government surveillance of telephones and emails, and of the omnipresent unmarked “white vans” suspected of being used in abductions.
There are reports of sexual violence against Tamil women detainees. The alleged perpetrators included army personnel and police officers. Available information seems to point to a systematic campaign. Most recently, a report described 40 Tamil refugees who had allegedly been tortured and raped in custody since the end of the war. Half had attempted suicide (Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates in the world—every year, nearly 100,000 people try to take their own life). The perpetrators of the violence had not attempted to hide their identities, adding credence to the notion of impunity.
Underpinning all this is the Government’s continued use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which authorizes detaining people for 18 months. Meanwhile, the 2010 amendment to the constitution vastly expanded the powers of the executive. Military men occupy key administrative positions. In terms of its indicators of economic growth and health, Sri Lanka does very well. Literacy rates and immunization coverage are excellent. However, there are persistent health disparities between different regions and ethnic groups for indicators such as maternal mortality and infant nutrition. Health infrastructure in the northern and eastern provinces most affected by the conflict needs urgent restoration. [LANCET#1] [LANCET#2][HRW]
Meditation on Scriptures:
‘He will be gentle to those who are weak, and kind to those who are helpless. He will persist until he causes justice to triumph.’ Matthew 12: 20
Jesus is the protector of human rights and defender for the weak and helpless. He stands in the midst of the forces of darkness to set them free by His radiating light, and to give comfort and support to the defenseless.
Pray for for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka:
Pray that UNHRCcan effectively expose the truths about human rights abuses in the country, let more people aware of these violations and give help to the victims;
Pray that the Sri Lankan Government will stop all violence against the innocent and peacemakers;
May God give comfort and healing to victims and grant them real peace and protection.
[ePrayer – Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan]
Since the eruption of fighting between the government and the opposition forces in mid-December that span across nearly half of South Sudan, UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has estimated that at least 923,000 South Sudanese are displaced within their own country and over 293,000 people have become refugees in neighbouring countries. Tens of thousands of the displaced civilians are seeking shelter at UN peacekeeping bases (UNMISS) throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that one-third of the population of South Sudan is now experiencing food shortage. Some areas of the country will be even at high risk of famine in the coming months.
In the past 5 months, gross human rights abuses have been committed by both sides in the brutal conflict, including rapes, mass killings and torture. According to a recent United Nations report, civilians were not only caught up in the violence, but were directly targeted, often along ethnic lines.
The current militarised environment places women and girls at a heightened risk of sexual violence, as armed men are seen everywhere and civilian law enforcement is virtually absent,. Even those sheltered in UN bases are not safe. Women and girls are harassed at night. Many are even too fearful to bathe at night or go out to the toilet. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated that 10,000 displaced women and girls reside in areas that are inaccessible to aid organisations and are at risk of sexual violence. [IRIN, UN News (1), UN News (2)]
Meditation on Scriptures:
He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. (Psalm 146: 6-9)
In the Old Testament, the foreigner, fatherless and widow are always mentioned together. These three groups of people are the most powerless among the marginalised. The foreigners live in places not of their own, the fatherless lost their parents and live alone without any provision from others, and the widows are often ignored in the community and live without dignity. God extends His powerful arm to protect and help the most powerless, and is pleased with those who act according to His will.
Come, let us raise our hands and pray for the refugees, orphans and widows affected by the current conflict in South Sudan; and for the God’s servants who are walking with the helpless and powerless in the frontline.
Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan:
Thanks God for the recent signing of an agreement between the government and the opposition forces to resolve the crisis in South Sudan, and pray for an immediate cessation of hostilities;
Pray for God’s provision to the hungers, that the children and women are protected, and those suffered from diseases, violence, abuses and traumas are healed;
Medair and Tearfund UK, also member agencies of Integral Alliance, are now serving the helpless and powerless in South Sudan. Pray for their works and safety.
South Sudan marks two years of independence on 9 July 2013, but the millions who continue to face displacement, hunger, disease and extreme poverty will be hard pressed to find any reason to celebrate.
Over the past two years, inter-communal violence and conflict between the rebels and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have caused nearly 350,000 people displaced. Fighting in southern part of Sudan has forced over 220,000 people fleeing into South Sudan. In addition, nearly two million South Sudanese have returned home since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, and so the country is facing serious food shortage. Further, South Sudan is in dire need of trained health workers and health centres and the government has faced criticism over its poor human rights record, such as poor prison conditions, widespread child and forced marriage, arbitrary detention and deteriorating press freedom. [IRIN]
Pray for South Sudan:
Pray for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan;
Pray for timely food and medical relief, and for comprehensive and appropriate rehabilitation.
[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2013 – Seeing It with Our Eyes ] STEP INTO THE WORLD
CEDAR’s partner SATHI conducts an integrated community project in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, which encourages dwellers to participate in community development. After several years, different resident groups are set up to organise and mobilise community development planning, gender equality promotion, improvement of community health and caring for underprivileged children.
Mukta is a member of the women’s self-help group. As a female she previously had little opportunity to express her views or get involved with issues such as community health, violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and child labour, but through SATHI’s women’s group and community health volunteer work, Mukta can now express her concerns on these issues and learn how to help families in need. ‘I am now studying a course for paramedics, with the hope of helping more people.’
Please support Bangladeshi slum dwellers to actively participate in community development:
HK$260/month> provides advanced training for 24 community health volunteers
HK$380/month> provides literacy education for 20 illiterate adults
HK$700/month> helps 10 women receive occupational training and start their small businesses
 CEDAR is an approved charitable institutions and trusts of a public character under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Please click Inland Revenue Department website to check for details.  Donations over $100 are tax deductible in Hong Kong with our receipts.  Please DO NOT fax any donation information.