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CWS Update January 2017

A monthly news bulletin exploring development, global justice and the work of CWS. An alternative to mainstream media sources. Past issues can be read here

January 2017

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For Your Diary

27 January World Day for the Commemoration for the Victims of the Holocaust.

27—30 January — Festival One at Mystery Creek, Hamilton.  Say hello to David Lawson at the CWS stall.

3-6 February—Tauiwi Youth Conference 3.2.1 Unite at Ngaruawahia Christian Youth Conference. David Lawson will be there.   

14 February One Billion Rising—celebrated by Asian partners.

 ACT Alliance/P Jeffrey

Market Day at one of Gaza's refugee camps.  Photo: ACT Alliance/Paul Jeffrey

Thank You New Zealand

Throughout its two year term on the United Nations Security Council, New Zealand focused on the situation in Israel Palestine.  Days before New Zealand’s term expired, the Council adopted Resolution 2334 jointly sponsored by New Zealand, condemning the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory as “a flagrant violation of international law” and its effects on the viability of the two-State solution.  

CWS wrote to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, thanking him for his efforts and quoting Constantine Dabbagh, retired executive director of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees Gaza and CWS guest in 2010.  He wrote in ‘appreciation and gratitude … for the firm stand of New Zealand… on the issue of the illegal establishment of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories’.  Constantine expressed his ‘thanks and hope that the international community would begin to understand the need to be fair and unbiased in order to end the almost 50-year-old occupation to enable us to restore our freedom and for both sides to live in an atmosphere of peace and spare bloodshed.’

Palestine Update

In late December the UN released a study indicating 1,089 Palestinian-owned structures had been demolished in the West Bank during 2016, displacing 1,593 people and affecting the livelihoods of another 7,101.  One month later Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly announced plans to build 2,500 housing units for Jewish settlers and lift restrictions in East Jerusalem—a move that will increase tensions.  An estimated 400,000 settlers live in the West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem which Israel took over in the 1967 war.  

Since 1953 DSPR West Bank has supported agriculture and water development in some of the poorest and most vulnerable villages on the border with Jordan, but have cut their programme due to a lack of funding.

DSPR Update

At the end of 2016 Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees Jordan distributed 1,950 food, infant and dignity (for women) kits in Irbid and Aqaba.  They ran 95 workshops on: gender based violence, health and psychosocial, girls’ education (pictured), home economics, business start-ups and civic education plus 7 children’s forums for 8-14 year olds.  One free medical day with volunteers from Jordan University Hospital was held at Irbil camp where 443 people got medical tests, medicine or referrals while others attended workshops on drugs and breast cancer.  The medical day, infant kits and 20 workshops were funded by CWS and matched by government funds.  If you can, please support Syrian refugees.

Reporting to the Security Council, Stephen O’Brien says far fewer civilians were killed in recent weeks in Syria and calls for the ceasefire to be sustained with better access for humanitarian supplies. 

Bangladesh: Better Wages

Addressing the National Garment Workers Federation Congress in Bangladesh, Amin (2nd from right) pressed government ministers present to increase the wages of garment workers.  Noting MP’s salaries had doubled, he said garment workers had to pay the same prices for their food as MPs and did not get housing paid for by government.  December saw widespread protests calling for increased wages from the current minimum of NZ$92.21 a month.  The wage was last raised in 2013 after the collapse of Rana Plaza killed 1,134 people.  80% of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the sector. CWS supports NGWF efforts to secure a living wage and safe working conditions for workers.

In Memoriam

CWS gives thanks for the life of Rev Yesuadian David in Tamil Nadu, India.  Y David was a Christian activist who played a leadership role in many local struggles including working with fisher communities to oppose nuclear power plants and advocating for the rights of Dalits.  Our condolences to Reetamma and their daughters. 


John Taroanui Doom former staff member and president of the World Council of Churches, the Pacific Conference of Churches and a leader in the Maohi Protestant Church died on Christmas Day.  From Maohi Nui (Tahiti), he opposed French nuclear tests and led the campaign for compensation.  He remained a keen advocate of self-determination and inspired many. 

Haiti: 7 years post-earthquake

We remember Haiti’s earthquake on January 12, 2010 and its huge toll on the country.  In October, Haiti was further damaged by Hurricane Matthew leaving 800,000 people in need of urgent food aid with limited support.  Thanks to your donations CWS sent $28,171 immediately.  ICKL has distributed food, seeds, water purification tablets and rehydrating salts to rural people who had received no official aid.  In November, the United Nations finally admitted its peacekeepers were directly responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti after the quake.  Donations to the Haiti Appeal will enable families to restore crops and homes. 

Gifted: Popular Gifts

Thank you for shopping Gifted for your Christmas gifts.  The stand out gift this year was Send a Child to School, equipping rural Haitian children for school.  Slipping a Gifted card to someone on a birthday or suggesting Gifted as your preferred present gives hope to a family in need at any time of the year.

 Christmas: Give Us Hope

Thank you for supporting the 2016 Christmas Appeal.  Our partners are taking on the tough challenge of helping poor communities cope with war, climate change, disaster, poverty and violence.  Your gift gives them hope to meet the challenge and makes them stronger. It is not too late to support their efforts.   Make a gift of hope.


Update provides news, information and stories.  Reproduction of items is encouraged with attribution to CWS.  Current and back issues are available