August 29, 2014

CFSC’s Jennifer Preston and Amnesty International’s Craig Benjamin will moderate a panel of our partners Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Paul Joffe, who will provide their expert opinions on the immediate and long-term implications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in title decision.
What does this decision really mean? What will change because of it? Come find out! Free. Open to all.
7-9 pm, Thursday, September 4th
Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia Street

After Tsilhqot'in POSTER

More about our work on Indigenous rights.


August 19, 2014

Canadian Friends Service Committee and our partner Amnesty International have written an open letter expressing concerns around the organizing of the high level segment of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, coming up in September at UN headquarters in New York. The letter expresses our concerns regarding the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all stages of organising of the Conference, and comes in response to statements by some member states that appear to be aimed at weakening the rights affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We recommend changes to the Outcome Document for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, including the addition of a paragraph which should state:

Photo credit:  Jitze Couperus, CC-BY

Photo credit: Jitze Couperus, CC-BY

“Consistent with the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we reaffirm that nothing in this outcome document may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights that Indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future. Similarly, nothing may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the related obligations of States.”
Download the open letter.

August 6, 2014

Reports from the Clerk, Treasurer, General Secretary, and all of the program committees as well as our audited financial statements for 2013-2014 are now available online. Read them on the About CFSC page.

Ngaliema Peace Cell, Kinshasa, DR Congo. Three of the volunteer conflict mediators CFSC supports (Feb, 2014).

Ngaliema Peace Cell, Kinshasa, DR Congo. Three of the volunteer conflict mediators CFSC supports (Feb, 2014). Read more about this project.

August 1, 2014

All bloody principles and practices we do utterly deny, with all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole world… “
So reads the famous testimony of Friends to Charles II in 1660. While contexts and conflicts change, Friends’ conviction that violence is unacceptable and contrary to the will of God is ongoing.
In a letter expressing our concern regarding the situation in Israel and Palestine, Lesley Robertson, Clerk of Canadian Friends Service Committee states, “We are moved by the sufferings of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. This suffering has gone on too long and must not be allowed to continue. We know that both Israelis and Palestinians have committed acts of violence against each other. We are also aware of the huge inequality of power between them.
“As a people of faith, we challenge all people, and particularly people of faith, not to put their trust in tanks or bombs or military aggression, but to open themselves to the Spirit of Love which counsels a path of nonviolence. Such a path recognizes the dignity of all peoples and seeks solutions to international conflicts through just and peaceful means.”
We lament the loss of all lives in Israel and Palestine, and hold all in the Light during this tragic time.

Photo credit Syeda Amina Trust CC-BY.

Photo credit Syeda Amina Trust CC-BY.

In such profoundly troubling situations, Quakers often want to help provide humanitarian relief. The most effective and sensible approach is to support groups that are already on the ground in the region and working in ways consistent with Friends’ beliefs. As CFSC’s partner (PCR) is in the West Bank and does not do humanitarian aid work, we recommend donating through Mennonite Central Committee Canada or Doctors without Borders.
For news from the region, visit the CFSC-funded International Middle East Media Centre (based in the West Bank, not Gaza).

Canadian Friends Service Committee and Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends joined with other faith leaders in a statement outlining their concern for religious minorities in Mosul, Iraq, in particular the persecution of Christians.

In the statement, faith leaders say:  “We uphold the right of all religious minorities, throughout the world, to be free to express and practise their faith, and to have this right respected by government and by other religious groups. The lifting up and enforcing of Dhimmi, an ancient understanding of Islam that treats Christians and Jews (among others) as second-class citizens, and presents them with the options of conversion, paying Jizya (a poll tax for non-Muslims) or death, is an unacceptable infringement of religious freedom. We call upon all people of good will to join us in condemning these actions.”

CFSC’s Care to Care maternal and child health project (which completed in 2012) offered training to medical professionals in Erbil, less than 100 kilometers from Mosul in Iraqi Kurdistan.  We think of our partners and of all in the region, praying for an end to violence and respect for the human rights of all.