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Latest News From Ekklesia

News Briefing and Comment
Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:57:05 +0200

CND calls for a halt to construction of new nuclear power stations

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is calling for a halt to the construction of new nuclear power stations in light of a damning report from the National Audit Office.

A National Audit Office report on the construction of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station says the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said, “The Department has committed electricity consumers and taxpayers to a high cost and risky deal in a changing energy marketplace. Time will tell whether the deal represents value for money, but we cannot say the Department has maximised the chances that it will be.”

Commenting on the report, the General Secretary of the Camapign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kate Hudson, said, "It is becoming increasingly clear that successive governments' obsession with developing new nuclear power stations poses a threat to the economy, consumers and the environment. It's time for the government to start investing in renewable energy which can power the UK towards a greener, sustainable future."

The National Audit Office states that since the original White Paper on nuclear power published in 2008 “the economics of nuclear power have deteriorated: estimated construction costs have increased while alternative low-carbon technologies have become cheaper”. This comes after repeated cuts in government support for renewable energy.

Government involvement in the project is also criticised, as the report notes that by taking a 50 per cent stake in the construction of the plant, the government could have achieved a strike price of £48.50 per megawatt hour. As it currently stands the strike price is a guaranteed £92.50, around twice the wholesale price.

The National Audit Office report on Hinkley Point C can be found here

*Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament http://www.cnduk.org/


Sat, 24 Jun 2017 06:30:17 +0000

Ekklesia at Solas Festival: making change, and journeys of belief

Ekklesia at Solas Festival: making change, and journeys of belief

read more

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:42:57 +0000

Police need more training on hate crime, says Amnesty

Amnesty International has called for improved training for police into how to deal with hate crime and for a review of the hate crime legal framework as it publishes a new briefing Against Hate: Tackling hate crime in the UK.

Amnesty International has called for improved training for police into how to deal with hate crime and for a review of the hate crime legal framework as it publishes a new briefing Against Hate: Tackling hate crime in the UK.

The briefing, produced following a study by the University of Leicester, is a review of existing legislation and case studies from victims of hate crime, and is being published on the one-year anniversary of the European Union Referendum vote.

It highlights a 42 per cent rise in hate crime in the two weeks either side of last year's referendum, mainly against members of minority ethnic and faith communities, new migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

The research showed that many hate crime victims are not reporting abuse, and the training of police officers across the country is inconsistent, leaving some ill-prepared in identifying and investigating cases, and therefore leading to a low conviction rate.

The report includes case studies of disturbing hate crime based on disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity – plus sectarian-motivated hate crimes in Northern Ireland.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty UK, said: "The rise of hate crime in the UK is of significant concern for a number of reasons – and the time is now to put a stop to it. This is a problem that is both under-reported and under-resourced.

"Every year hundreds of thousands of people in the United Kingdom are attacked and harassed – physically or verbally – because they are perceived as 'different'. All people of all identities should be able to go about their lives in peace, without the fear of being abused or harassed by those who seek to sow hatred and division.

"In recent weeks, attacks in London and Manchester have attempted to undermine the very fabric of our society. In their wake, we have seen reports of a rise in demonising language and dangerous comments that can cause real harm to real people. Now, more than ever, we must stand together against this hatred.

"We are now calling for police to receive increased training in how to respond to hate crime and support victims, for more resources to assist investigation and prosecution, and for more awareness in how victims can report hate crimes."

Case studies include:

  • Hanane, a Muslim woman in London who suffered anti-Muslim abuse on the bus while pregnant, accused of being a terrorist and threated with violence. She said: "I am finding it difficult to sleep at night and every time I go out I am afraid."
  • Grace, an Asian woman who suffered racist abuse online from her partner's former friends, but was told by police that the comments "were not really racist...only immature men who were joking."
  • Monique, a mother from Ghana who settled in the West Midlands with her family but suffered racist abuse following the EU Referendum as her children were told they were going to be deported.
  • Bailey, a 13-year-old from Belfast, who was assaulted and suffered sectarian abuse. He said: "It makes me feel annoyed that I can't go somewhere without being attacked because of my religion."
  • Cathleen, a transgender woman from Edinburgh, who was verbally abused on a bus. She said: "Historically the police and other authorities have been prejudiced towards LGBT people and this has prevented LGBT people from reporting."
  • David, a gay man from East London, who was assaulted in a homophobic attack because he was holding hands with his partner. He said: "Since being physically attacked, I feel so much more self-conscious about holding my partner's hand or being affectionate."
  • Michael, a 61-year-old from Belfast who has a muscle-wasting disease and was verbally abused because of his disability. He said: "It was torture and I just didn't understand why they were doing it."

The study also highlighted that between 2012 and 2015, only 52 per cent of hate crime victims in England and Wales were satisfied with the police response in terms of fairness and effectiveness, much lower when compared to 73 per cent of general crime victims.

Kate Allen added: "We have had concerns for some time that toxic rhetoric from prominent figures can have serious consequences on the streets of Britain. Last summer, there was a worrying use of divisive language that demonised sections of the population and sent the harmful message that some people are more entitled to human rights than others.

"The language used by politicians, social commentators and sections of the media can have very real consequences for people, and we are reminding them of the need to be careful with what they say and what they do in this ongoing era of political upheaval."

At Amnesty's AGM earlier this year, Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, said: "The threat of rising far-right extremism is real and it isn't going to go away quickly. But with resolution, a concerted attempt to reach out and a focus on building closer communities we can and we will defeat it."

Following the publication of the briefing, Amnesty is calling for:

  • An extensive review of the UK's hate crime legal framework to assess whether the current system meets the needs of victims.
  • All police officers to receive adequate training to correctly identify hate crime, respond to victims and support them appropriately.
  • Resources for police forces and local governments to support frontline practitioners to establish and continue meaningful dialogue with different communities.
  • Public officials to speak out against and challenge negative stereotypes of particular groups and mobilise public opinion against discrimination on any grounds.
  • Developed training packages to improve police officers' knowledge of online hate crime and their confidence in dealing with this form of crime.
  • Extending the list of protected characteristics across the UK to include, as a minimum, gender, socio-economic status and age; and all characteristics should have equal legal protection.

* Read the report Against Hate: Tackling hate crime in the UK here

* Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org.uk/


Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:26:31 +0000

New heir to Saudi throne presided over Yemen intervention

The newly-appointed Saudi Crown Prince has defended human rights abuses and presided over his country's intervention in Yemen as Defence Minister.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as Crown Prince and heir to the throne. The new Crown Prince has repeatedly defended the human rights abuses of his father's regime, including the mass execution of 47 people in January 2016.

The crown prince claimed that all those killed were “terrorists” who were executed following fair trials. In fact, they included people arrested for simply attending a peaceful protest and convicted on the basis of false confessions extracted through torture. Those killed included Ali al-Ribh, who was just 17 at the time of his execution.

There is now great concern about three young pro-democracy protesters who could be executed at any moment on King Salman’s orders. Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher were all juveniles when arrested.

Prince Mohammed has also been heavily criticised for presiding over the Saudi intervention in Yemen as defence minister since 2015.

Maya Foa, Director of the international human rights organisation Reprieve, said, “This is an attempt by an ageing dictator to fool the world into believing he is prepared to change. The reality is Prince Mohammed has stood alongside and publicly defended the King as young men have been tortured and executed for peacefully protesting while he has led the internationally condemned intervention in Yemen. Change will only come if the Crown Prince puts an end to the execution of juveniles, otherwise this is little more than routine spin to distract from the gravest human rights abuses.”

*More about the cases of Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, can be found here.

*Reprieve http://www.reprieve.org.uk/

*Reprieve provides free legal and investigative support to people around the world facing execution, and to victims of torture, extrajudicial imprisonment and extrajudicial killing.



Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:49:13 +0000

WCC chief greets Sami Church festival

At the Sami Church Days in Sweden, a festival held 14-16 June 2017, the World Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, described how indigenous people lead the world in caring for creation.

At the Sami Church Days in Sweden, a festival held 14-16 June 2017, the World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, described how indigenous people lead the world in caring for creation.

The Sami people are an indigenous people of northern Europe inhabiting lands which today encompass parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

The theme for the festival is Psalm 36:9: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” The verse, Tveit said, is “a fantastic motto that shows how love unites all: God, nature, humankind.”

Caring for the earth means respecting and valuing what God has created, Tveit reflected. “How can we love our neighbours if we don’t care whether there’s something to live from – and live for – on this one planet? How can we love God if we don’t love the world God loves?”

All of this is connected as part of the circle of ideas that we call 'nature' today: earth, plants, animals, air, water, light and darkness, climate, temperature, said Tveit. “It has always been part of our prayers of gratitude to God from humans of all cultures and traditions.”

Indigenous people in particular have had much better expressions for this connection than many others, and know a lot about why loving one’s neighbour, loving God, and loving nature are inseparable concepts, he continued. “We have so much to learn and to do together. Indigenous peoples, their situation, and their challenges have played, and do play an important role in the work of the WCC, and it is an important part of the lives and work of the churches that is expressed through the contributions of indigenous peoples.”

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en


Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:48:32 +0000

Methodist Church of Great Britain News Service

Methodist Church of Great Britain News Service
Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:57:05 +0200

Booking now open for 3Generate: the Children & Youth Assembly
Children and young people will get the chance to change and challenge the church, the world and each other at this year's 3Generate
Fri, 15 Jun 2012 01:26:25 GMT

Stop blaming the poor for poverty, say Churches
New proposals seek to measure 'faults' of poor, rather than poverty
Thu, 14 Jun 2012 01:26:25 GMT

Reshaping for leadership of the Connexional Team
The leadership structures of the Connexional Team will be significantly re-shaped under recommendations from a reference group of the Methodist Council
Fri, 08 Jun 2012 01:26:25 GMT

Fijian Church given permission to meet
The Methodist Church in Britain has welcomed the news that the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has been granted permission by the Government to hold its annual Conference
Fri, 08 Jun 2012 01:26:25 GMT

CTE Presidents' Statement on the Jubilee
The Presidents of Churches Together in England have issued a joint press release for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It is for all churches and community groups celebrating the Jubilee this weekend. It can be read out in churches, posted on websites, put in literature and passed through social media.
Wed, 30 May 2012 01:26:25 GMT

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