Justice and Faith   Leave a comment

Oikotree Global Forum affirms that “justice is at the heart of faith”

Source: Council for World Mission

Churches are partnering with people’s organizations and movements in order to promote justice and life under the Oikotree movement. Sponsored by the WCC, World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Council for World Mission, the Oikotree Global Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 03 to 08 March 2013, brought together around 70 representatives from churches, ecumenical organizations and people’s movements to discuss critical and common concerns for joint action.

The gathering emphasized the need to step up ecumenical support for Indian people’s struggles against POSCO. POSCO is a US-South Korean company that is planning to build a multi-billion dollar steel and port project in the state of Orissa. Despite the lack of an environmental clearance, the local government is proceeding with the forceful acquisition of land for the project.  The steel mill and port will displace at least 22,000 farmers, adversely affect the livelihoods of 20,000 fisher folk, generate a water crisis in the area, harm already threatened animal species, and deplete forests where adivasis or tribal people dwell and from which they derive sustenance.  Participants from India pointed out that communities opposing the steel mill are being criminalized. Leaders are being thrown into jail, protestors attacked by armed goons, and, on 2 March 2013, three resisters were killed in a bomb attack.

Building solidarity with the struggles of peoples in Palestine against occupation, Colombia and the Philippines against militarization, and Southern Africa against poverty and inequality  also were identified by the gathering as important areas for deepening common action.

As a “movement of movements,” Oikotree will focus theological reflection, education and awareness-building, networking, research and advocacy on land issues as an over-arching theme in the next two years.  Land brings together peoples’ struggles for socio-economic, ecological justice and their links with increased militarization.

The Oikotree movement will be participating and presenting the “Global Kairos Faith Stance,” a document in progress, at the upcoming WCC Assembly in Busan, which has the theme of “God of Life, lead us to Justice and Peace.”

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