ASIA/PAKISTAN - The challenges of Justice Peace in Asia: missionaries, religious and lay people operating in Catholic communities all over the continent focus on human rights

Thursday, 17 March 2005

Lahore (Fides Service) - Democracy, sustainable development, impact of the tsunami, refugees human rights, religious fundamentalism were the main topics at the 6th Work Shop for Justice and Peace Operators in Asia held recently in Rawalpindi, Pakistan attended by missionaries, religious and laity from many Asian countries including Afghanistan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Philippines, and observers from Oceania and Europe.
The meeting was presided by Bishop Lawrence Saldanha, President of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference. During the five day work shop, with the help of reports from the different countries, the participants reflected on various topics and identified solutions to problems. The including the situation of human rights, and of religious minorities in Asia, the question of pluralism and tolerance, laws which tend to penalise minorities in the different contexts.
In a statement at the end of the meeting participants called on Asian governments to keep the standard of respect for human rights high, to eliminate discrimination and obscure practices which still exist, also in Pakistan. “We call on the government of Pakistan to stop violence and discrimination against women, to improve working conditions, encourage massive participation in political life, take concrete steps to reach the Millennium Goals of education for all and the elimination of poverty by 2015”.
The forum of Justice and Peace workers in Asia is a network of individuals and organisation who meet regularly to share information and experience and make plans for common action. The forum has the approval of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/3/2005 righe 30 parole 324)