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
Rights groups urge release of Laos activist
Police are suspected of abducting him six months ago
Sombath Somphone was abducted on a busy street in Laos' capital six months ago
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- June 18, 2013
Dozens of Philippine human rights defenders held a "ritual of remembrance" outside the Lao embassy in Manila today to call for the safe return of highly accvlaimed activist Sombath Somphone who was abducted six months ago.
Clarissa Militante, of the group Focus on the Global South, said the Lao government should ensure Sombath is found and returned safely to his family.
Some 100 activists from all over Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia sent "messages of hope and support" for today's event, Militante said.
People sending messages included Larry Lohman, author of the book Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatization and Power and co-founder of the Durban Group for Climate Justice.
Anne Sophie Gindroz of the Swiss group Helvetas urged those detaining Sombath to release him soon
Sombath received the UN’s Human Resource Development Award in 2001 for empowering the rural poor in Laos.
In 2005, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. The award citation recognized his efforts to promote sustainable development in Laos by training and motivating its young people to become a generation of leaders.
Sombath so far remains the only person from Laos to receive Asia's version of the Nobel Prize.
His abduction at a busy intersection in Laos’ capital Vientiane on December 15, 2012, was caught on camera and showed him being escorted by what looked like police officers.
The Lao government has denied responsibility for his disappearance, which sparked an international outcry.
The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as parliamentarians from around the world have urged the Lao government to ensure the safe release of Sombath.