HONIARA, Solomon Islands
The Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly has called on France, the United Nations, Pacific island countries and the international community to support self-determination in Maohi Nui (Tahiti).
At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates said decolonization was one of the PCC’s long-standing themes.
A request from the Etaretia Porotetani Maohi (Maohi Protestant Church) to the assembly called for support for the re-inscription of Tahiti onto the UN’s decolonization list.
The church said the Maohi people must be allowed to decide for themselves on the sovereignty of their nation.
Delegates recognized God’s gift of freedom to be self-determining.
They also recognized the human rights of all people, in particular the right to self-determination of all people and in particular the right to self-determination of all oppressed colonized indigenous people in the world in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
They called on member churches and the World Council of Churches to support, through advocacy, efforts for the re-inscription of Maohi Nui on the list of countries to be decolonized.
West Papua independence
A programme implemented by Pacific churches will address human rights abuse and independence in West Papua.
The Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands resolved to document effective advocacy on justice and respect for human rights in collaboration with ecumenical partners, civil society and governments.
It will incorporate the human rights situation in West Papua as a strong focal point of PCC’s programmatic work on self-determination for non-self-governing territories and communities and peoples who yearn to be free.
Pacific churches will designate an annual Freedom Sunday to pray for island countries and people who are not free.
At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed to encourage the French authorities to fulfil their obligations and provide all necessary means for the economic, social and cultural, environmental development of the Maohi people.
The PCC delegates agreed to facilitate awareness building in churches, with their partners and networks about the injustices suffered by the victims of nuclear testing in the region.
They agreed to design and implement advocacy activities at multiple levels targeting such injustices and using the thematic areas of praying, speaking out and acting together.
And they agreed the PCC Secretariat would facilitate regional dialogue among its members to raise awareness on nuclear testing.
Pacific churches will fight for the compensation of people affected by nuclear testing.
At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed to advocate with the Maohi people a zero-tolerance stance on nuclear weapons and testing.
The assembly resolved to build awareness beginning in churches, with partners and networks about the injustices suffered by victims of nuclear testing in the region.
Members will design and implement advocacy at multiple levels targeting such injustices and using the thematic areas of praying, speaking out and acting together.
And a regional dialogue tour among PCC members to raise awareness on the issues of nuclear testing,
The Pacific Conference of Churches has called for an immediate stop to experimental seabed mining. At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates said seabed mining was a matter of growing concern in the region.
Over the next five years the PCC will conduct regional advocacy work to create a greater understanding of the long and short term effects of seabed mining.
It will also act on behalf of member countries to advocate at the relevant global levels including the International Seabed authority.
The general assembly resolution came after concerns were raised by several island churches.
Solidarity on mining
Churches throughout the region will develop specific positions on mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry in a resolution passed in Honiara.
Member churches agreed to call on their governments to stand in solidarity with the people of the region who were struggling with the challenges and negative impacts of mining in their communities.
At its 10th Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed there was a need to facilitate the concerns of members by engaging on the issue with agencies such as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Melanesian spearhead Group.
End HIV-AIDS stigmatisation
Pacific churches have called for an end to the stigmatization of people suffering from HIV and AIDS.
Delegates at the Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, called for the inclusion of people with HIV and AIDS.
They also called for the voices and concerns of those with HIV and AIDS to be heard.
To this end the PCC will develop and facilitate a programme on compassion and reconciliation and to include people living with HIV and AIDS in the design and implementation of the programme.
It will work alongside member churches to help dispel stigmas and negative attitudes associated with HIV and AIDS.
Climate change and resettlement
Research into climate-induced resettlement will be a key area of work for the Pacific Conference of Churches over the next five years.
Leaders at the 10th general Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands supported the continuation of climate-induced resettlement research focussing on human rights.
As part of this programme of action there will be an advocacy plan as outlined in the Moana Declaration of 2009.
This plan will look at options for displaced people, explore methods of relocation and ensure the protection of the rights of the displaced people.
Teachers for Chuuk
The Pacific Conference of Churches will provide teachers for schools in Chuuk to help with a shortage in the Micronesian territory.
Member churches will provide the teachers who will also work on youth evangelism and ecumenism. At its 10th Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates heard of the need for teachers in Chuuk.
A number of countries, including Tonga, have agreed to provide staff members for the project.
The PCC secretariat will also establish a pool of resource people from among its member to assist with the capacity and emergency needs of regional churches.
Arms trade and nuclear weapons
Pacific churches will keep track of arms trading and nuclear proliferation in the region after a resolution passed in Honiara.
Church leaders agreed to monitor the arms trade and initiate awareness raising campaigns on the issue where necessary.
The PCC Secretariat will also increase networking and consultation initiatives with human rights groups in an effort to address the unresolved nuclear legacy in the Pacific.