As leaders of Canadian churches and church organizations, we (the Anglican Church in Canada, The United Church of Canada and KAIROS Canada) join partners in sharing a deep concern about the grave and deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines.
We lament, in solidarity with our partners, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice), the brutal vilification and many violations of human rights defenders and Indigenous Peoples organizations, including church members and groups.
We grieve the loss of so many lives and so much Indigenous traditional land due to large scale resource extractions without prior consent. We grieve the militarization and restrictions of Indigenous communities, and the criminalization of Indigenous, farmer, women and labour-led movements working for the protection of human rights, good governance and just laws.
We lift up the work of the Independent International Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines in listening to the stories of impacted peoples and communities, and urging relevant United Nations bodies to hold perpetrators accountable and deliver justice to victims. We acknowledge all who serve as Commissioners, including Canadians among them: The Rev. Michael Blair, General Secretary, United Church of Canada; The Rev. Dr. Chris Ferguson, General Secretary, World Communion of Reformed Churches; and, the Rev Marie Claude Manga, KAIROS Canada.
We lift up the courage of the victims – Indigenous peoples, women, youth, farmers, workers – and the human rights organizations and churches who accompany them in providing testimonies for this report.
Today, we invite your prayers for the sure and lasting reception of the Investigation’s first report to the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, March 15-16, 2021, so that the voices of the targeted and ‘red-tagged’, the imprisoned, disappeared and murdered speak their truths to those with ears and hearts to hear and act, and so that there is justice.
Let us pray:
Be with us O Lord our God, as we pray with the peoples of the Philippines in this time of deep division, uncertainty and pain.
You know how desperately Your peace and justice is needed in this vast archipelago, home to thousands of Indigenous communities and cultures, and to the settler peoples who also live there now.
We pray for all public servants and people in government in the Philippines, especially those who remain upright and motivated by a genuine sense of duty and love for country.
We pray for those who peacefully challenge state laws and practices undermining Your intentions for all creation. Give them strength and courage to stand their ground for truth and justice. Protect their lives from those who seek to harm them when they voice their dissent.
May the crises brought about by political differences everywhere bring about conversion and a change of heart in all.
May You teach us to rise above personal and political loyalties, redirecting our efforts towards the common good and celebration of the gift of diversity in life.
May we be guided by your Spirit to respond with mercy and compassion for those in need, the persecuted and the most vulnerable members of our societies.
For we know that what we do for others in need, we do for you.
In your Holy name, we pray.
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