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
Democratic standards worsening, says UN
Latest index points to rise in violence year on yearViolence worsened in Indonesia in 2010, UNDP reported (AFP photo/BIMA SAKTI)
- Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- December 13, 2012
The United Nations Development Program said yesterday that civil liberties and political rights were diminishing in Indonesia resulting in an overall decline in the country’s democratic standards.
In its index for 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, the UNDP gave Indonesia 63.17 points for democracy, lower than the 67.30 score given in 2009, with violence repeatedly cited as a cause for concern.
“We recorded that on almost every day throughout the year  there were protests ending in violence in each province,” Maswadi Rauf, one of the index’s authors, said at a press briefing in Jakarta yesterday. “This is not democracy.”
UNDP Country Director Beate Trankmann suggested that Indonesia should improve political rights and respect people’s right to get involved in peaceful protests.
“Also, further steps are needed to maintain freedom of speech, especially during general elections, and to uphold religious freedom,” she said.
Indonesia saw a slight improvement in democratic institutions in 2010 in what was otherwise a year of diminishing freedoms in Indonesia.
In response, Minister of Home Affairs Gamawan Fauzi accepted that democratic principles had been upheld.
“A number of fights between different communities, which were intentionally or unintentionally related to religious and ethnic issues, can be said to be indicators of an ailing democracy,” he said.