UN hears about faith leaders’ reconciliation work
FAITH leaders should be part of reconciliation work, the UN Security Council heard this week during a debate on the subject. In a session on Tuesday led by the Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad, the Security Council discussed how reconciliation processes had played a part in resolving ethnic, religious, and political differences Cambodia, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, and elsewhere. Lord Ahmad said: “In a world where more than three-quarters of people say directly their faith is important to them, there can be very little doubt that faith leaders have the ability to influence individuals and communities in a way governments simply cannot.”
Chinese bishop said to be ‘on the run’
THE Auxiliary Bishop of Mindong, the Rt Revd Vincenzo Guo Xijin, has reportedly fled from state security agents who were attempting to force him to sign up to a government-recognised “independent Church”, the RC Asia News website has reported. Last year, China signed an agreement with the Vatican that the Pope would approve bishops suggested by the state (News, 30 August). Bishop Guo, a member of the underground RC Church, was under the supervision of two security agents for a year, as he resisted adherence with the state’s rules. A churchgoer in the diocese told Asia News that Bishop Guo was “very tired” from his treatment. This year, there have been warnings that religious freedom in China is at a 40-year low, and that the country is home to one of the largest populations of religious prisoners in the world (News, 3 May).
World Vision bond issue raises $AU20 million
THE first bond issue by VisionFund International, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision, has raised $AU20 million with its first bond issue in Australia, it was announced last week. The bond was offered to eligible institutional and high-net-worth investors in the country. The CEO of World Vision Australia, Claire Rogers, said that the money would be used “assisting primarily poor women to sustainably lift their families out of poverty by growing small businesses and increasing their family’s incomes”.
WFP seeks emergency aid for Sahel region
MORE than one million people have been displaced and there are emergency levels of malnutrition in the Sahel region of Africa (between the Sahara desert and the Sudanian Savanna), the World Food Programme (WFP) reported this week. Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have all been heavily affected by attacks from militants. The WFP’s executive director, David Beasley, said: “Our teams on the ground are seeing malnutrition levels pushed well past emergency thresholds. This means young children and new mothers are on the brink. If the world is serious about saving lives, the time to act is now.” It was described as a “three-country crisis”.