Disciples General Minister and President Sharon Watkins and UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer, along with the Co-Executives of Global Ministries, Julia Brown Karimu and James Moos, wrote a letter to U.S. Congressional leaders appealing for Congress to act on legislation that would help solve the severe economic debt crisis being faced by Puerto Rico.
The letter, dated December 7, 2015 responds to the request from our partners, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico (CCDPR), to seek Congressional action "regarding the devastating effects on people caused by the debt crisis on the island," which is a U.S. territory, but which does not benefit from the same rights and privileges as U.S. states, including legal options to seek relief of the commonwealth's excessive debt, estimated at $72 Billion.Read more
Puerto Rico's economy is trapped in a debt crisis. This crisis further threatens nearly half of the population living in poverty. As Global Ministries, we are accompanying and hearing our partner churches' and organizations' concerns about the debt; the consequences for defaulting on it; the proposals that would reduce wages; layoffs of worker; reducing employee benefits; and a reduction in health services. Drastic measures, as some sectors are proposing, will adversely affect the poor and needy in Puerto Rico. Those who lend money at high interest rates know that it is a heavy burden to the fiscal health of the people but have no authority to demand changes that would affect essential services, jobs and opportunities for an economic resurgence.
Our partner churches and ecumenical organizations have been involved in discussion and advocacy, urging the U.S. Government and the private banking sector to declare a Jubilee for Puerto Rico. Let us pray and act in favor of the people in Puerto Rico, as Jubilee USA Network has been including some of the materials to reflect and to witness a Jubilee that allow debt relief and attention to the “poorer of the poor” in the Enchantment Island.
From Jubilee USA Network:
Governor Announces Revenue "Claw-Back" to Fund Government Services
Washington DC - Puerto Rico surprised some analysts by making a scheduled $354 million debt payment and avoiding a default. In an announcement, the island's Government Development Bank said it had "paid all principle and interest payments due today on certain outstanding [debt]." Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington that the island's government will "claw-back" revenues designated to pay certain debts to instead pay for government services. "We have no cash left," Padilla told the committee. The US Territory owes $72 billion in total debt, which Governor Padilla called "unpayable" in June.
A coalition of ecumenical and religious leaders in Puerto Rico issued a statement on August 31, 2015 calling for national debt-relief in response to the island's economic crisis.Read more
#deathpenalty #puertoricoRead more
Puerto Rico Section
Amnesty International (AI) is a world movement of people working in favor of human rights. Members spend a lot of time, resources, and energy to selflessly help those whose human rights are violated. There are 2.2 million members of Amnesty International around the world and Amnesty International's work is done in over 150 countries. AI investigates and informs about human rights abuses and violations and motivates practical and efficient actions to end abuses. It operates independently from all government, political ideology, or religious creed, and does not support or oppose any government or public system. In order to guarantee the independent criteria, the organization does not accept political and/or governmental contributions for investigative work and actions against abuses. AI finances itself exclusively by contributions of members around the world and fundraisers.
In July 1983, the International Executive Committee of AI recognized the status of the Puerto Rican groups that work to reach the AI objectives. Puerto Rico's AI section works in the development of campaigns in favor of human rights around the world. The death penalty, children's rights, and human rights education have been the constant work of Puerto Rico's Section.
Currently, AI-Puerto Rico has different work groups and interests. Among them:
- Gender Committee
- Committee Against Torture and Abuse
- Committee in Favor of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
2008 accomplishments include the following:
- Maintaining Puerto Rico as a zone free of death penalty sentences. Of four federal trials with the possibility of a death sentence, none of them concluded as such even when the accused were found guilty.
- The investigation of human rights cases was achieved by serving as a practicum for social work students.
- Raising awareness of human rights and equipping activists to spread the message.
- Improved the web presence through a campaign called "Intensify the Flame" through Facebook. This was a celebration for the 60th Anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration. The website has been updated and a Facebook page created which has 659 members.
- Gender education materials were distributed widely.
- Radio programs were used as a forum for human and sexual rights and gender discrimination discussions. They also were used as a part of a campaign to end torture and to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo.
Amnesty International in Puerto Rico has collaborated with the following organizations: Dominican Women Center; Peace for Women; Health Workshop; Pro Family Well-being Puerto Rican Association; The Masfaldas; Human Rights Graduate Program from the Sacred Heart University; Legal Assistance Clinic; Social Work Graduate Department at University Of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras; College of Attorneys; American Civil Liberties Union; Puerto Rican Civil Rights Commission; Community Groups Support Net in Socioeconomic Development; Alliance for a Socioeconomic Agenda; ENLACE Project; Brotherhood of Non-educational Exempt Employees; Puerto Rican Coalition Against the Death Penalty; Proud Rainbow Coalition.
Dr. Glenn S. Aggerup passed away on March 10, 2009. He was a former missionary in Puerto Rico at Ryder Memorial Hospital.Read more
Evangelical United Church of Puerto Rico offers support to victims of hurricanes in HaitiRead more
Founded in 1961, Amnesty International has campaigned successfully in recent years. Through their research and action, governments have been persuaded to stop human rights violations and change their laws and practices. They are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Their purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. They investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world. Their belief is that until every person can enjoy all of their rights, they will continue their efforts. They will not stop until everyone can live in dignity; until every person’s voice can be heard; until no one is tortured or executed. Through companies and agencies, reporters and journalists, Amnesty International goes beyond “doing what they can” and steps into action to protect those around the world. Their website shares news and stories of their work.