Posted: March 8th, 2013 | Author: megan.graham | Filed under: JIM, Justice and International Mission, Media, News | No Comments »
The Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania has welcomed the Prime Ministerâ€™s announcement that the Government will take steps to ensure â€œno firm providing goods or services to the Commonwealth is tainted by slavery or people-trafficking anywhere in the supply chainâ€.
â€œThis is great news in the global struggle to end slavery and human trafficking. The Australian Government is to be commended for sending a clear signal it will not accept goods and services produced with human trafficking or slavery,â€ said Dr Mark Zirnsak, social justice spokesperson for the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania.
â€œWhile the measures announced are a step forward, they need to go further and impose meaningful penalties for suppliers who knowingly or recklessly supply goods where slavery or human trafficking have been involved in their production. At a minimum Australia should follow the US Government and require suppliers to sign a declaration stating they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure human trafficking and slavery have not been involved in the production of the goods they supply. Breach of the declaration in the US can result in a supplier being prohibited from applying for government contracts for up to three years.â€
The US has required suppliers to sign declarations stating they have taken reasonable steps to exclude forced and child labour from goods and services supplies to the US Government under Executive Order 13126 on the â€˜Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced and Indentured Child Laborâ€™.
According to the International Labour Organisation there are still approximately 21 million people trapped in situations of forced labour around the world, many of whom produce goods for export.Â There can be no doubt there are goods entering Australia that are produced using slavery or trafficked labour. The US Department of Labor has identified a wide range of goods that involved the use of forced labour and exploited child labour that are imported into the US. Many of the same goods from the same countries are imported into Australia.
For those goods where trade figures exist, over $600 million of goods in categories where there is a risk of forced labour or exploited child labour used in production was imported into Australia in the 2009 â€“ 2010 financial year. Goods imported into Australia where forced labour may have been used in the production of goods include cocoa, bricks, pavers, cotton clothing and fabric, carpets, rice, palm oil, tinned fruit and vegetables, fruit juice, prawns, cat food and embroidered textiles.
â€œThe Australian Government needs to go further than the announcement today and commission research to identify goods coming into Australia where there is significant risk of slavery, forced labour or human trafficking involved in their production. This could be modelled on the research that is done and published by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs on goods entering the US,â€ said Dr Zirnsak. â€œIn that way government purchasing staff would have a guide on what types of goods are likely to be of higher risk of slavery and human trafficking in their production and take greater care when purchasing such goods.â€
Dr Mark Zirnsak, 0409 166 915
Posted: March 4th, 2013 | Author: megan.graham | Filed under: Justice and International Mission, National Assembly | No Comments »
From 5-15 March UnitingWorld, in partnership with Anglican Board of Mission, will be holding One World, WonTok: Youth Conference on Poverty and Development.
The conference, with events Australia-wide, will be an excellent opportunity for Uniting Church secondary school students to engage in social justice and international studies. It will allow students to actively learn about the root causes of poverty and explore the fundamentals of good development including cultural relevance, respect, local ownership and sustainability. WonTok is a Melanesian word meaning shared family, community, language, history and future.
This yearâ€™s emphasis is on the United Nationâ€™s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Students and educators will grapple with real-world dilemmas in an active learning environment, facilitated by experienced development practitioners. Theyâ€™ll explore the local realities that can challenge development within local communities; identifying and discussing the obstacles to achieving the MDGs before the 2015 deadline.
The dates for the conference events in each city are as follows:
Sydney â€“ 5 March
Brisbane â€“ 7 March
Perth â€“ 11 March
Adelaide â€“ 13 March
Melbourne â€“ 15 March
Click here to see footage from last year’s One world, Wontok Youth Conference.
For more information or to attend any of the events as part of the conference, contact Fiona Johnson on 0414 824 136 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: February 13th, 2013 | Author: megan.graham | Filed under: Justice and International Mission, Media, News | No Comments »
A former Uniting Church peace advocate will receive one of the highest international church honours in Sydney this week.
Joy Balazo came to Australia from the Philippines in the 1980s and founded the Young Ambassadors for Peace program in 2002. Over the next decade the program empowered more than a thousand young people across the Asia-Pacific to step up to become peacemakers in their troubled communities. Over the years the Young Ambassadors for Peace workshops have been held in places like the Solomon Islands, the Indonesian island of Ambon, the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Bougainville and many others.
Ms Balazo will be presented with the 2012 World Methodist Peace award at a service in her honour at Sydneyâ€™s Wesley Mission. Previous award winners include former US President Jimmy Carter (1985), Mikhail Gorbachev (1990) and Nelson Mandela (2000).
The award will be presented by Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council at a ceremony presided over by the President of the Uniting Churchâ€™s Assembly Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney.
â€œThis prestigious award is a fantastic acknowledgement for Joy Balazoâ€™s work, both as a champion for peace in our region and as a peacemaking role model within the Uniting Church,â€ said Rev. Professor Dutney.
â€œJoyâ€™s work is a powerful example of Godâ€™s mission for reconciliation, and I look forward to honouring her this Thursday and the ongoing work of UnitingWorld to engage young people in our region in peacemaking.â€