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
Coalition aims at rights in North Korea
Concerted approach 'the only way to stand a chance of securing change'
- Mike MacLachlan, London
- United Kingdom
- September 8, 2011
The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea is made up of 40 rights organisations from Asia, Europe and the Americas, including Amnesty International and the International Federation for human rights.
Its launch follows a conference in Tokyo yesterday attended by the constituent groups and legal experts from the Aegis Trust and the International Center for Transitional Justice.
The conference was opened by Benedict Rogers, the London-based East Asia team leader of the rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
â€śThis is an historic initiative,â€ť he said, â€śthe first time so many people from so many different organizations from such a broad range of countries have come together, not only for a conference on North Korea but for a cause: stopping crimes against humanity in North Korea.
â€śNorth Korea is one of the worst human rights situations in the world â€“ and one of the most overlooked.
â€śIt became clear to me that we would only stand a chance of securing the change we want â€“ an end to the regimeâ€™s crimes against humanity â€“ if all of us, around the world, unite and work together.â€ť
The issue needed to be internationalized, he added. It was no longer merely a regional issue. â€śThese are crimes against humanity and all of humanity must be involved.â€ť
â€śThe time has come for the UN to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity that characterize North Korea today,â€ť said Phil Robertson,
deputy director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch. â€śWe demand the world pull back the curtain on the egregious human rights violations that make the North
Korean Government one of the most brutal regimes on earth.â€ť
Lord Alton, a Catholic and chairman of the UK's all-party parliamentary group on North Korea, praised the international scope of the coalition.
â€śWhat is needed with North Korea is a contemporary equivalent of the Helsinki process we pursued with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War,â€ť he said in a statement of support.
This would combine â€śinternational pressure, an uncompromising alertness to security concerns, and a constructive, critical engagement in which human rights are placed firmly on the table.â€ť