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January 2012 



Missed Opportunities?

Pope Benedict XVI addresses diplomats accredited to the Holy See in the New Year on themes including religious freedom and the environment.

During the Epiphany the thought came, what if the Magi had not recognised the significance of the ‘Eastern Star’ or ignored the call deep within bidding them to follow that star and embark on a journey into the unknown?  What if when they encountered difficulties and uncertainty on this journey the Magi had turned and headed back home? 

“A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
 “That this was all folly....”"
TS Elliot ‘The Journey of the Magi’

The New Year invites us to look back on what has been. It is a time for us to face the questions about the opportunities we missed or failed to respond to, possibly because of fear, inadequacy or thoughtlessness. It is inevitable that some missed opportunities were so significant they live on long after they occurred.  But missed opportunities are not just personal, they can also be collective as evidenced in the various wars and conflicts we are hearing about today on the news.  What opportunities for dialogue and conflict resolution were missed in Syria, Nigeria, the DRC and Somalia this past year?  2012 provides the opportunity to pray that all leaders will ‘seize the moment’ to work for justice and peace; and that each of us will hear the Spirit’s call deep within and respond wholeheartedly… 

Sr. Denise Boyle
Executive Director FI



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2012 Focus at the UN

UN Geneva: Human Rights Council meets to discuss UPRs

The work of FI throughout 2012 will continue to be based on the invaluable contributions of Franciscans working at the grassroots combined with advocacy activities at the United Nations (UN). The next six months will include the submission of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reports, participation in UPR sessions, regional workshops, and awareness-raising events at the regional and international level. 

In 2012 FI and members of the Franciscan Family will participate in the UPR procedures for a number of countries including Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. Advocates will continue to work closely with UN experts to address global concerns such as human trafficking, the environment and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. More>>

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Against Human Trafficking

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, with ACRATH in Australia

In December 2011, Mrs. Christine Carolan, National Projects Coordinator for ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) visited Geneva to work with FI advocates and meet with other NGOs and government officials working on the issue of human trafficking. This followed the recent visit to Australia in November of the Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo. More>> 

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Peru under Review

Workshop participants in Lima

FI and Franciscans in Peru organised two workshops in December 2011 to prepare for the country’s UPR at the UN in October 2012. FI Advocacy Officer, Amanda Lyons, members of the Franciscan Family and local human rights organisations met for a two-day national workshop in Lima and for a local session in Cusco. More>>

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Supporting Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Indigenous Persons are amongst the world’s most marginalised

Franciscans from South Asia, East Asia and Australia will participate in an FI workshop on how to advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples (IP) at the end of January. Over five days the 25 participants will discuss issues of concern including, amongst others: the right for IPs to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development; Land, Territory and Resources (Forests); and Children’s Rights. More>>

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FI-Bolivia Coordinator Receives Human Rights Award

Msgr. Tito Solari Capellari presents Br. Ignacio Harding OFM with the Human Rights Award

The Cochabamba Permanent Human Rights Assembly (APDH) recently presented several recognition awards to show gratitude to persons who have stood out for their work with vulnerable sectors of the Bolivian society. Br. Ignacio Harding OFM, Coordinator of Franciscans International Bolivia, was among those recognised for their outstanding contribution to the community. More>>

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