Fides News - Englishhttp://fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - "Two countries but one Church, committed to migrants": meeting of border dioceseshttp://fides.org/en/news/61996-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Two_countries_but_one_Church_committed_to_migrants_meeting_of_border_dioceseshttp://fides.org/en/news/61996-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Two_countries_but_one_Church_committed_to_migrants_meeting_of_border_diocesesBarahona - In a statement released yesterday, the group of representatives of the border dioceses of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, who met on March 21 to analyze common problems , stated that the Catholic Church remains committed to providing those services to undocumented migrants. This commitment is motivated by the communion with Pope Francis and his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017.<br />The Bishop of the diocese of Barahona, His Exc. Mgr. Andrés Napoleón Romero Cárdenas, who hosted the meeting, read the document, and said: "Our Church has the mission to work for the welfare of the two peoples, the fight to preserve harmony and respect for the dignity of migrants, in particular of vulnerable children and the voiceless", who were at the center of the Pope’s message this year.<br />The Presidents of the Episcopal Commissions for the Pastoral Care of Migrants of the Bishops Conferences of the two countries, His Exc. Mgr. Launay Saturne and Diómedes Espinal de Leon , pointed out that, even though they are two different countries they are one Church, and such commitment does not enter the political field but is a service to our brothers, because we are all children of God.<br />The document sent to Fides expresses the firm hope of the Bishops and the local Church that both President Danilo Medina Sánchez , and Jovenel Moïse, fulfill their election promises, so the people of Haiti will not have to emigrate in search of better living conditions and the country will manage to eradicate impunity, corruption and other social problems. Another important commitment is linked to the teaching in schools run by the Catholic Church, always in the perspective of reception and support to migrants. <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:47:54 +0100ASIA/IRAQ - In a liberated Church the 14 "rules of behaviour" imposed by jihadists to the people of Mosul have been foundhttp://fides.org/en/news/61999-ASIA_IRAQ_In_a_liberated_Church_the_14_rules_of_behaviour_imposed_by_jihadists_to_the_people_of_Mosul_have_been_foundhttp://fides.org/en/news/61999-ASIA_IRAQ_In_a_liberated_Church_the_14_rules_of_behaviour_imposed_by_jihadists_to_the_people_of_Mosul_have_been_foundMosul - Penalties for those who smoke and those who drink, prohibition for women to leave the house if it is not necessary, death penalty for blasphemy are some of the 14 "rules of behavior" that the militia of the self-proclaimed Islamic State had drawn on the columns and walls of the Chaldean church dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Mosul. After having conquered the northeastern Iraqi city, the jihadists had chosen the church as an operations base. In recent days, the church was reconquered by the Iraqi army. The soldiers found it empty and with no Christian symbol. Only the altar seems to have been spared from the devastation. <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:25:42 +0100AFRICA/MALI - Sister Cecilia: the Bishops launch new initiatives for her releasehttp://fides.org/en/news/61998-AFRICA_MALI_Sister_Cecilia_the_Bishops_launch_new_initiatives_for_her_releasehttp://fides.org/en/news/61998-AFRICA_MALI_Sister_Cecilia_the_Bishops_launch_new_initiatives_for_her_releaseBamako - The Bishops of Mali have launched an initiative to obtain the release of Cecilia Argoti Narváez, the religious of Colombian nationality of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, who was kidnapped on February 7 in Karangasso in southern Mali .<br />"The Bishops are exploring all possible paths to obtain Sister Cecilia’s release", explains don Edmond Dembele, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Mali to Agenzia Fides.<br />"Appeals are launched through the media to solicit the search for contacts with kidnappers" says don Dembele. "The Diocese of Karangasso is also trying to find intermediaries to find a contact with the kidnappers".<br />The priest reports: "some believe that bandits in the area kidnapped the religious in the hope of getting a ransom, and now do not know how to handle the situation. Others believe jihadists kidnapped her".<br />"The Episcopal Conference of Mali, along with the Diocese of Karangasso, is launching appeals to kidnappers and those who can offer concrete information, calling at the same time the community of faithful to intensify their prayer for Sister Cecilia’s release", concluded don Dembele. <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:18:15 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - The experts alarm: the Holy Sepulcher at risk of collapsinghttp://fides.org/en/news/61997-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_experts_alarm_the_Holy_Sepulcher_at_risk_of_collapsinghttp://fides.org/en/news/61997-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_experts_alarm_the_Holy_Sepulcher_at_risk_of_collapsingJerusalem - The Holy Sepulcher risks collapsing if nothing is done to shore up its unstable foundations. The alarm was launched by the same team of archaeologists and experts who have just successfully completed the restoration of the Edicule . The entire complex of the Holy Sepulcher – declared Greek archaeologist Antonia Moropoulou, professor at the National Technical University of Athens and chief scientific supervisor of the restoration project, to National Geographic - could be threatened by "a significant structural failure". And if this were to happen - added the Greek archaeologist "the failure will not be a slow process, but catastrophic".<br />Restoration of the Edicule reveals that much of the 19th-century shrine and its surrounding rotunda, which host millions of annual visitors, appear to be built largely on an unstable foundation of crumbled remnants of earlier structures and is honeycombed with extensive tunnels and channels<br />The shrine built by Constantine around the tomb was partly destroyed by Persian invaders in the seventh century A.D. and destroyed again by the Fatimids in 1009. The church was rebuilt in the mid-11th century. The Edicule was later altered by the Crusaders and restored again in the 16th and early 19th centuries. Its current form encloses several earlier construction phases. <br />Several of the 22-ton pillars that hold up the dome of the rotunda rest on more than four feet of unconsolidated rubble.<br />The restoration just completed around the Edicule, and celebrated on Wednesday, March 22 during an ecumenical ceremony, which also saw the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I - registered the cooperation of the three major Christian groups that maintain primary control over the site—the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Patriarchates of Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land.<br />To address the risk of structural collapse at Christianity's holiest site, the NTUA now proposes a six-million-euro project to be allocated for the necessary work. On Saturday, March 18, a statement released by the Custody of the Holy Land reported that "the Holy See has allocated a corresponding amount of 500 thousand dollars as a contribution to the new phase of consolidation and restoration work at the Holy Sepulcher. This contribution "will be dispensed after the communities named in the Status Quo have by common agreement constituted an appropriate Committee". <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:58:31 +0100ASIA/INDIA - After the Jubilee: in search of the "13th innocent prison apostle"http://fides.org/en/news/61995-ASIA_INDIA_After_the_Jubilee_in_search_of_the_13th_innocent_prison_apostlehttp://fides.org/en/news/61995-ASIA_INDIA_After_the_Jubilee_in_search_of_the_13th_innocent_prison_apostleBangalore - In the Year of mercy the community of the baptized in India has multiplied initiatives of pastoral closeness and solidarity in Indian prisons. Hundreds of prisoners have been released or have benefited from alternative sentences thanks to the support of many dioceses, congregations and church institutions. Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Faridabad, last year celebrated Holy Thursday Mass in the prison in Tihar. After the rite of the washing of the feet of 12 prisoners, another prisoner showed up at the altar begging to also be among the apostles. The Archbishop accepted, and washed the feet of the 13th prisoner. The man then told the Bishop he is the victim of false accusations and is innocent.<br />Recalling this significant episode, Bishop Peter Remigius, president of "Prison Ministry India" Catholic voluntary organization, told Fides: "It is up to us to find the 13th prisoner who seeks comfort and support" , stating that "within the Church there will always be a place of reception and solidarity and compassion for those in prison".<br />In the wake of the precious experience of the Jubilee, the "Prison Ministry India" organization now invites youth and adults to live a year of voluntary commitment. "In 1382 Indian jails over 400 thousand people languish without love, hope and help. The commitment is an opportunity to be involved in the recovery and rehabilitation of prisoners, in and out of Indian jails", said to Fides Fr. Sebastian Vadkumpadan, national coordinator of "Prison Ministry India".<br />The new volunteers will follow an intensive training program to be held at the Camilian Pastoral Health Center in Bangalore in May. The course is aimed at priests, nuns, lay people who "want to engage in this work of compassion and to continue to show care to those who are behind bars", says the priest.<br />"Prison Ministry India" was born in 1986 and recognized by the Bishops' Conference, that works for the care and rehabilitation and social reintegration of prisoners. It currently has over 6,000 volunteers who bring enthusiasm and energy to give hope and improve the quality of life of prisoners in Indian jails. <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:07:11 +0100AMERICA/MEXICO - Mexico celebrates: the child Martyrs of Tlaxcala, protomartyrs of America will be canonizedhttp://fides.org/en/news/61993-AMERICA_MEXICO_Mexico_celebrates_the_child_Martyrs_of_Tlaxcala_protomartyrs_of_America_will_be_canonizedhttp://fides.org/en/news/61993-AMERICA_MEXICO_Mexico_celebrates_the_child_Martyrs_of_Tlaxcala_protomartyrs_of_America_will_be_canonizedMexico City - "With happiness and joy we share the news that the Holy Father Francis received Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in audience. During the audience, the Holy Father approved the votes of the Ordinary session of Cardinals and Bishop Members of the Congregation regarding the canonization of the following Blesseds: Cristobal, Antonio and Juan, teenagers, martyrs, killed in hatred of the faith in Mexico in 1529". This is the statement of the Mexican Episcopal Conference issued yesterday afternoon and sent to Fides.<br />"The child Martyrs of Tlaxcala, are martyrs of Latin America, because they were the first to bear witness to the faith", said His Exc. Mgr. Francisco Moreno Barron, Bishop of Tlaxcala, on November 14, 2015 at the celebration of the V Centenary of the birth of the three children .<br />The beatification process was concluded by St. Giovanni Paolo II on May 6, 1990 at the Basilica of Guadalupe, during his second pastoral visit to Mexico. They are among the first natives of American ethnicity who converted to the Catholic faith and are also Promartyrs of America, the first to shed their blood for Christ on this continent.<br />Cristobal was probably born in the year 1514, Antonio and Juan around 1516. They were cruelly killed by their countrymen because, in the name of the Catholic faith, they rejected idolatry and polygamy: Cristobal died in 1527, Antonio and Juan in 1529.<br />Archbishop Moreno Barron, was in Rome on June 29, 2016 for the blessing of the pallium from Pope Francis, as the new Archbishop of Tijuana. On this occasion he received a copy of the Decree of patronage by the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, with which the Child Matyrs of Tlaxcala are declared Patrons of Mexican childhood . <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:55:32 +0100AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - The Government denounces: More than one million child workershttp://fides.org/en/news/61994-AFRICA_MOZAMBIQUE_The_Government_denounces_More_than_one_million_child_workershttp://fides.org/en/news/61994-AFRICA_MOZAMBIQUE_The_Government_denounces_More_than_one_million_child_workersMaputo - The Mozambican government has denounced the presence of one million and 400 thousand working children in the Country because of poverty and minimum salary. During the presentation of a survey on child exploitation, carried out by the Eduardo Mondlane local University, the authorities requested a list of hazardous jobs in order to protect children. According to the study data, 44% of children and adolescents consulted said that the majority of child labor is concentrated in illegal trade, 14% work to help the family. About 12% of those interviewed said they work in bars and restaurants, 11% in family fields, 6% in the fishery sector and 5% in domestic activities. In Mozambique, the minimum working age is 18, however, the Labor Law provides that one can start work at 15 years of age. <br /><br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:20:21 +0100VATICAN - The martyrdom of a nun engaged in providing assistance to women and respect for their rights has been recognizedhttp://fides.org/en/news/61991-VATICAN_The_martyrdom_of_a_nun_engaged_in_providing_assistance_to_women_and_respect_for_their_rights_has_been_recognizedhttp://fides.org/en/news/61991-VATICAN_The_martyrdom_of_a_nun_engaged_in_providing_assistance_to_women_and_respect_for_their_rights_has_been_recognizedVatican City - The Holy Father authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree on the martyrdom of the Servant of God Sister Regina Maria Vattalil , professed nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor Clares Franciscans, killed in India in hatred of the faith, on February 25, 1995.<br />Sister Maria, 41, was originally from Kerala, and she worked in Udaynagar, in the diocese of Indore, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh for two and a half years. <br />She was killed while traveling by bus from Udaynagar to Indore. Two men forced her to get off and in front of passengers, she was hit with more than 50 stab wounds. Police arrested three people, including the perpetrators of the crime.<br />According to the information disseminated then by Agenzia Fides , the nun was mainly engaged in favor of farmers and village women. Mgr. George Anathil, at the time Bishop of Indore, recalled that Sister Maria was engaged in providing social assistance, teaching civil rights to tribal populations in Udaynagar, in an area dominated by large landowners and moneylenders. After her funera, public demonstrations were held which were attended by thousands of people, including some Bishops and members of Christian and non-Christian organizations. All institutions and Catholic schools of the state of Madhya Pradesh remained closed in mourning. <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:34:49 +0100ASIA/AFGHANISTAN - The Country is experiencing economic crisis and millions of children do not go to schoolhttp://fides.org/en/news/61992-ASIA_AFGHANISTAN_The_Country_is_experiencing_economic_crisis_and_millions_of_children_do_not_go_to_schoolhttp://fides.org/en/news/61992-ASIA_AFGHANISTAN_The_Country_is_experiencing_economic_crisis_and_millions_of_children_do_not_go_to_schoolKabul - Nearly a third of Afghan children do not attend school and, in a country at war like Afghanistan, this factor increases the risk of becoming victim of child labor, children are recruited by armed groups, who are forced into early marriages or subjected to other forms of exploitation. According to figures gathered by Save the Children, sent to Fides, more than 400,000 Afghan children have left school this year because of the growing instability and forced repatriation of 600,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan. The NGO noted that about half of the children who return do not attend school and often end up working in the street because their parents cannot find work. <br />Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:23:26 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - Are the massacres in North Kivu carried out by true jihadists?http://fides.org/en/news/61987-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Are_the_massacres_in_North_Kivu_carried_out_by_true_jihadistshttp://fides.org/en/news/61987-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Are_the_massacres_in_North_Kivu_carried_out_by_true_jihadistsKinshasa - Since the beginning of October 2014, the population of the territory Beni has been the victim of a series of kidnappings and massacres, where more than a thousand people have died.<br />The Congolese government blames the violence on a group of Ugandan rebels of Islamic inspiration, the Allied Democratic Forces , calling them the jihadist terrorist group. According to the government, the ADF are in contact with other jihadist groups like Al Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Such view is proven by the presence of Ugandans, Somalis, Kenyans, Chadian and Sudanese in the ADF. "But the jihadist thesis of the government is not at all convincing. It could be a simple expedient to capture the sympathy of the international community, which is also a "victim" of a certain form of international terrorism", says a note sent to Fides by the Peace Network for Congo.<br />The massacres in fact are never claimed as instead those committed by jihadi groups in other parts of Africa, for example Boko Haram in Nigeria or Shabaab in Somalia. The ADF do not follow a logical recruitment of new believers in view of the expansion of a caliphate in the Great Lakes region of Africa, but a logic of territorial settlement. In them, one can observe a settlement strategy in certain areas of the territory of Beni where the local population can no longer access. As for alleged foreign members, it is difficult to think about whether we are dealing with "Foreign Fighters" who arrived in Congo to enlist in a hypothetical jihad. It is rather foreigners already present on Congolese soil for several years, if not decades, for political, economic or professional reasons.<br />"According to another theory, the true perpetrators of these crimes regard the same government and people of Rwandan origin whose goal would be to balkanize the region", the statement said. "This was also the perspective of Fr. Vincent Machozi, Assumptionist religious murdered on the night of 20 March 2016 . Shortly before he was killed, on his website Beni-Lubero, he had accused Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame to be the real instigators of the massacres. According to him, the two Presidents favored an atmosphere of terror in order to force the local population to abandon their lands, rich in timber and minerals, to allow a new population from Rwanda to settle. In his last message before his assassination, Father Machozi had written: «Muslim tunics help to create confusion to hide the Rwandan face of occupation, already too visible to everyone's eyes»". <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:45:13 +0100ASIA/SYRIA - Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Hassaké: let us not help only Christianshttp://fides.org/en/news/61990-ASIA_SYRIA_Syrian_Catholic_Archbishop_of_Hassake_let_us_not_help_only_Christianshttp://fides.org/en/news/61990-ASIA_SYRIA_Syrian_Catholic_Archbishop_of_Hassake_let_us_not_help_only_ChristiansHassaké - The militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State have withdrawn from the surroundings of Hassaké. For years, they had positions in less than twenty kilometers from the capital of the province, in northeastern Syria. Now they are at least sixty kilometers away. The city breathes, but the consequences of the conflict continue to weigh on daily life: "in the South of the capital" refers to Agenzia Fides Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Hassaké Nisibi "there are villages where Bedouins suffer hunger. They had accepted the dominion of Daesh, which guaranteed them the necessities of life. Now many of them support the Kurdish militias. But many have nothing to eat. As a diocese, we have just finished distributing three thousand head of goats and kids among them, so they can have milk. They will be resources to ensure survival. Christians here suffered so much during the war. But there are those who suffered as much and more than Christians. And we help everyone".<br />The Syrian Catholic Archdiocese - adds Archbishop Hindo - has also restored 25 homes in the neighborhoods south of Hassaké, and distributed them to non-Christian families. The intent is to contribute over time to weaken sectarian conflicts. In this regard, the Syrian Catholic Archbishop continues to regard the behavior of some militarized Kurdish groups ambiguous: "for almost a year", says the Archbishop "they continue to maintain control of the hospital under construction that they had promised to vacate already in June last year, to start the restoration work and allow the healthcare facility to begin functioning". <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:29:33 +0100ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church: "The death penalty, politicians ask consistency and conscience"http://fides.org/en/news/61989-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_Church_The_death_penalty_politicians_ask_consistency_and_consciencehttp://fides.org/en/news/61989-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_Church_The_death_penalty_politicians_ask_consistency_and_conscienceManila - "What we ask our politicians is coherence and to vote on the death penalty according to conscience. We ask not to use faith for political advantage. Many politicians take the field to say yes to life, then vote in favor of the death penalty. Conscience enlightened by faith is very important in politics, as in any other choice of human life. The choices in personal or private life cannot be in contradiction with those in public life": says to Agenzia Fides Melvin Castro, executive Secretary of the "Family and Life" Commission in the Episcopal Conference, while the Philippine Senate is preparing to vote the law on the re-imposition of the death penalty, already approved by Congress. The vote in the Senate is expected on May 2 and the majority in the assembly is held by members of President Duterte’s party, promoter of the law.<br />"The Church teaches this, the sacredness of life. We want to live in a nation that always keep in mind the principle of respect for the inalienable dignity of every man and every woman and fundamental human rights", remarked Fr. Castro to Fides.<br />The Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, in a recent public statement, read in all the churches, presented several good reasons for why the bill on the death penalty should be rejected. The bishops state that the death penalty "is not necessary", "will not be a move towards greater justice", "will not help the country."<br />In fact, every punishment, observe the Bishops, should have a reformative effect which seeks "healing and reform, not vindictive justice". In addition, Supreme Court records show judicial error in death penalty cases is more than 70%, while "no study has shown that the imposition of death penalty is an effective deterrent to the commission of crimes", says the Bishops’ message.<br />Therefore the appeal explicitly asks the senators to "reject the re-imposition of the death penalty". The Bishops finally invite the faithful to pray constantly so that "the Holy Spirit enlightens and guides the legislators' minds and consciences", called to make a choice that will affect the lives of many people and the future of the country. <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:17:34 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Our politicians are corrupt and often aid does not go to those who need it", denounces a Bishophttp://fides.org/en/news/61988-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Our_politicians_are_corrupt_and_often_aid_does_not_go_to_those_who_need_it_denounces_a_Bishophttp://fides.org/en/news/61988-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Our_politicians_are_corrupt_and_often_aid_does_not_go_to_those_who_need_it_denounces_a_BishopAbuja - "Most of the donations from the western world do not get directly to the targeted people. Whenever interventions come, they always insist it must go through the government agencies and through this, such interventions go directly into the pockets of some individuals. Most of our politicians are corrupt", denounced His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, in northern Nigeria, speaking to a delegation of Aid to the Church in Need. Maiduguri is at the center of Boko Haram attacks and the delegation came to visit the affected population as a sign of solidarity.<br />Mgr. Doeme in thanking the guests, stressed that the Church and other religious denominations have created efficient structures to distribute aid to victims of Boko Haram.<br />The delegation of 14 people from South Korea, Asia, America and Europe have launched an appeal to reconciliation and interreligious dialogue to overcome tensions. Tensions are often of political origin, as pointed out by Fr. John Bakeni, where acquisition of land to build <br />churches has become a great challenge. He also observed with dismay how churches and Christian institutions have been razed down severally without government compensation. The Catholic Church - stressed Fr. Bakeni - has visited all the Official camps in Maiduguri, granting immediate humanitarian response to our Muslim brethren", he said.<br />The delegation met some of the survivors of the violence of Boko Haram under the guidance of Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Director of the diocesan office for social communications. <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:27:51 +0100ASIA/MYANMAR - Child labor: cheap labor that fuels growth in the Countryhttp://fides.org/en/news/61986-ASIA_MYANMAR_Child_labor_cheap_labor_that_fuels_growth_in_the_Countryhttp://fides.org/en/news/61986-ASIA_MYANMAR_Child_labor_cheap_labor_that_fuels_growth_in_the_CountryNaypyidaw - In Myanmar minors can legally start working at 14 years of age, but the workday cannot exceed four hours. Legislation allows children to enter the labor market at age 14, but some also falsify their documents to start earlier. Despite the fact that all forms of dangerous jobs are prohibited, experts argue that the legislation is poorly understood, and many children, even very young, are sent to work. According to information sent to Fides, one child, between 10 and 17 years of age, out of 5 works in Myanmar: one of the worst Countries in the world in the field of child labor, where one in four people live below the poverty line.<br />Many of the children who work to help their families sell flowers, serve tea or do household jobs. Others work in the growing number of foreign factories established in the Country to transform the economy into the most dynamic in the region. Western companies take advantage of low labor costs. The minimum wage is in fact about 33 cents an hour, less than Thailand, Cambodia, China and Indonesia. <br /><br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:57:41 +0100AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Meeting of the border Bishops of Haiti and Rep. Dominicana on common issueshttp://fides.org/en/news/61985-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Meeting_of_the_border_Bishops_of_Haiti_and_Rep_Dominicana_on_common_issueshttp://fides.org/en/news/61985-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Meeting_of_the_border_Bishops_of_Haiti_and_Rep_Dominicana_on_common_issuesBarahona - Bishops, priests and delegations of Haitian parishes and the Dominican Republic met in Barahona on March 21, to analyze the social and economic problems affecting the border and to exchange pastoral experiences in a climate of communion. According to information sent to Fides, the meeting ended with Mass celebrated by one of the Haitian Bishops and concelebrated by all the Bishops, including Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Nunzio Apostolico in the Dominican Republic. The delegations that participated were welcomed by Mgr. Andrés Napoleón Romero Cárdenas, Bishop of the Diocese of Barahona. <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:44:55 +0100AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - People are dying of hunger in Unity State, those who can, flee in search of safetyhttp://fides.org/en/news/61984-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_People_are_dying_of_hunger_in_Unity_State_those_who_can_flee_in_search_of_safetyhttp://fides.org/en/news/61984-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_People_are_dying_of_hunger_in_Unity_State_those_who_can_flee_in_search_of_safetyYirol - "The last time an African country experienced such a dramatic 'state of famine' was 6 years ago, in Somalia. The tragedy of famine has been hitting South Sudan, Unity State for over a month, where there are about 100 thousand people, bordering the Lakes, and where we have been working for almost ten years". This is what don Dante Carraro, Director of Doctors with Africa CUAMM told Fides.<br />"The consequences of drought and famine, which since last year have been hitting these areas, have worsened because of the increased and widespread insecurity that pervades the Country and undermines work, activities and trust of families and local communities. When poverty does not allow you to feed your children people use weapons and also do what they would not do in a normal situation. Communication is blocked, transport is impossible, there are no seeds and food. And now people are beginning to starve. First goats and cows, followed by children and mothers, then the elderly and finally young people and adults. People who do not die, escape. From Unity State they flee to inland areas of the Country, further south, in the State of the Lakes or outside the Country, to the east, Ethiopia. The social and political situation is fragile. But the situation of the population, especially mothers and children, is dramatic", continues don Dante.<br />"We CUAMM welcome and take charge of those who manage to escape and reach further south, to the State of the Lakes: mothers, children and families seeking shelter, food and care in hospitals of Cuibet, Rumbek, Yirol and various health centers scattered on territory, where thousands of people are starving. We need food assistance and health care, medicines, equipment and staff. We call on the United Nations to intervene by supporting the activities from Juba", concluded don Dante. <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:40:29 +0100AMERICA/PUERTO RICO - Religious leaders ask the United States to prevent financial crises in the countryhttp://fides.org/en/news/61982-AMERICA_PUERTO_RICO_Religious_leaders_ask_the_United_States_to_prevent_financial_crises_in_the_countryhttp://fides.org/en/news/61982-AMERICA_PUERTO_RICO_Religious_leaders_ask_the_United_States_to_prevent_financial_crises_in_the_countrySan Juan - The Archbishop of Puerto Rico, His Exc. Mgr. Roberto González, and the Bible Society led by Reverend Heriberto Martínez, ask the United States Congress to approve tax benefits for children and health care for Puerto Rico, request presented by a bipartisan task force of the same Congress. The Chamber of Deputies is in fact discussing some aspects of the health care legislation, which once approved, according to religious leaders, will help to simplify the island's debt. The island of Puerto Rico is politically related to the United States.<br />"You are at Congress to act for Puerto Rico", wrote the two religious leaders in a letter sent to the Republican and Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate. <br />"Since our island is preparing to restructure its debt, we need you".<br />In addition to focusing on the island's financial crisis, always more and more serious, Archbishop González and Reverend Martínez, encourage Congress to take further measures to stop future debt crisis not only in Puerto Rico but also in developing countries worldwide. "We want to prevent financial crises that have an impact on all children – they write -. Many countries, like Puerto Rico, are in crisis because there is not a US law that promotes, in a safe manner, responsible lending and its repayment".<br />Religious leaders in their letter, sent to Fides, recall that they have been working to solve the crisis of Puerto Rico since 2015 , and have Jubilee USA and national religious organizations like the Catholic Bishops Conference of the United States and the United Church of Christ as partners. <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:22:06 +0100AMERICA - REPAM: the right to land is a prerequiste for the exercise of other rightshttp://fides.org/en/news/61983-AMERICA_REPAM_the_right_to_land_is_a_prerequiste_for_the_exercise_of_other_rightshttp://fides.org/en/news/61983-AMERICA_REPAM_the_right_to_land_is_a_prerequiste_for_the_exercise_of_other_rightsWashington - Considering the violation of the territorial rights of indigenous and Amazonian communities in South America, the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network has proposed to the International Commission of Human Rights to examine the possibility, through the rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, to prepare and publish a report on the situation of land rights of these peoples. "We believe that this document would be a useful legal instrument for the defense, at a national and international level, of indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the Amazon", said REPAM with regards to the hearing on March 17 in Washington .<br />Representatives of indigenous peoples and Mgr. Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, S.J., Archbishop of Huancayo and spokesman of CELAM, highlighted the serious damage that the extraction of minerals and other legal and illegal activities in the Amazon have caused and continue to cause not only to the environment and natural resources, but also to the human rights of indigenous peoples and local non-indigenous people, in particular to the law of land. They have therefore appealed to the authorities to seek new ways able to harmonize respect for human rights and the environment with economic and productive development.<br />During the hearing REPAM focused the attention on the right to the territory as a prerequisite for the exercise of other rights. <br />Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:21:37 +0100AMERICA/GUATEMALA - Mgr. Ramazzini: the country is economically dependent on remittances from workers in the UShttp://fides.org/en/news/61974-AMERICA_GUATEMALA_Mgr_Ramazzini_the_country_is_economically_dependent_on_remittances_from_workers_in_the_UShttp://fides.org/en/news/61974-AMERICA_GUATEMALA_Mgr_Ramazzini_the_country_is_economically_dependent_on_remittances_from_workers_in_the_USBern - The Bishop of the Diocese of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, His Exc. Mgr. Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri, participated in a panel discussion at the European Parliament in Brussels, which has launched a study on trade and on human rights in Latin America, sponsored by CIDSE, a network of 17 Catholic development agencies in Europe and North America. Yesterday, Mgr. Ramazzini Imeri traveled to Bern, Switzerland, where he visited the headquarters of a group of NGOs committed to helping Guatemala.<br />The Bishop said that the situation in the Central American country is increasingly difficult. On the new US president’s policy, Mgr. Ramazzini Imeri said: "If Mr. Trump does what he anticipated about emigration, this can be dramatic for Guatemala. One must consider that in 2016 remittances by Guatemalan emigrants working in the United States reached more than 6.4 billion dollars. If the country has not collapsed it is largely thanks to these revenues. If they are reduced, cut or taxed, the consequences will be disastrous. Our current social situation, combined with that of El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, could anticipate new civil wars. Maybe I have a very pessimistic view, but current signs are not good and the closure to migration will have unimaginable consequences".<br />In his interview with swissinfo, the Swiss information portal, the Bishop also highlighted signs of hope: "As Episcopal Conference we offer ourselves as bridges of communication to encourage meetings . We are always there to accompany the people, trying to reorient those who speak of violence. and we feel strengthened and in tune with Pope Francis". <br />Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:38:33 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Eight dead in an attack against a refugee camp in the north-east of the Countryhttp://fides.org/en/news/61981-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Eight_dead_in_an_attack_against_a_refugee_camp_in_the_north_east_of_the_Countryhttp://fides.org/en/news/61981-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Eight_dead_in_an_attack_against_a_refugee_camp_in_the_north_east_of_the_CountryAbuja - At least eight people died in a suicide attack on the night of March 22, in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. According to preliminary information five suicide bombers blew themselves up in the camp for displaced in Muna Garage near the city.<br />The camp is home to hundreds of thousands of displaced people fleeing the violence of Boko Haram, which has already committed other suicide attacks. It is therefore likely that this latest attack was perpetrated by the Islamist sect, that despite the severe blows received by the army continues to carry out attacks to show that they have not been defeated.<br />The security situation remains precarious in other areas of Nigeria. On March 20, 18 people were killed in a market in the central region of Benue. President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an inquiry into this massacre and condemned the recent wave of killings that affects different regions of the Federation.<br />In their last public statement , the Nigerian Bishops warned of the "loss of the sanctity of life" and on the "spread, in several areas, of ethnic militias, and their increasingly destructive violence against the community". "Since the end of the tragic civil war , at no time in the history of our beloved Country, the issue of citizenship has been subjected to such a tough test". <br />Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:21:49 +0100