Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
ASEAN urged to rethink rights charter
Criticism of draft grows ahead of foreign ministers meeting at UN
- Kerima Bulan T. Navales, Manila
- September 27, 2012
The Indonesia-based Human Rights Working Group said ASEAN foreign ministers should return the draft to the regionâ€™s inter-governmental rights body for revisions to make sure it complies with â€śinternational human rights standards and principlesâ€ť while warning that flaws would â€śget ASEAN closer to losing its credibility.â€ť
M. Choirul Anam, deputy director of the working group, said the framework as it stands contains â€ślimitation of rights.â€ť
Civil society groups in the region have criticized the draft after the inter-governmental rights body reportedly patched it together after a second meeting with civil society groups in Manila on September 12.
Regional rights groups have taken issue with Article 8 of the draft, which limits freedoms under the laws of individual countries, and Article 7, which considers rights within the context of the political, cultural and religious sensitivities of member states.
Yuyun Wahyuningrum, the working group's senior advisor on ASEAN and human rights, said Article 6 also poses problems. It says individual rights must be balanced with a person's responsible to the community.
â€śThere is no such concept of balancing rights and responsibilities of individuals to others in an international human rights framework,â€ť she said. â€śHuman rights are indivisible, inherent, interdependent and interrelated.â€ť
ASEAN is facing the problem of enshrining the rights standards of a diverse region where freedoms vary greatly between countries.
Myanmar had been considered among the worst rights offenders in the world until recent reforms, while Vietnam this week confirmed its lack of freedoms by sentencing three bloggers to long prison terms including Nguyen Van Hai who was given 12 years in jail followed by five years of house arrest.
Some activist groups, including the Campaign Committee for Human Rights in Thailand, have said that the ASEAN framework as it stands would end up reversing rights in the region.
Court sentences Christian bloggers
Student arrests raise doubts over Myanmar reforms
Group urges ASEAN rights body reforms