June 18, 2014

Report from Recent MIA Global Action Online Meetings via Adobe Connect

Two international global action meetings were held in early June using the Adobe Connect meeting software

On Thursday 5 June, seven members of the Working Group on Opposing Human Trafficking linked up across the world to discuss our important ministry. Despite our diverse efforts to combat Human Trafficking, common threads emerged that included the importance of networking; collaborative efforts, legislative advocacy and resource sharing efforts.. Participants were invited to submit a one page summary report on their work in this area prior to the meeting and circulate it to everyone. Despite our diverse efforts to combat HR, common threads emerged that included the importance of networking; collaborative efforts, legislative advocacy and resource sharing efforts.


      Top row. L-r: Colleen Wilkinson rsm (South Africa), Catherine Gibbons rsm (Northern Ireland),
         Aine O'Connor rsm (New York), Pat Zerega (Pennsylvania)
         Bottom row. L-r: Anna Nicholls (ANZ), Denise Boyle fmdm ( MIC Dublin), Anne Walsh ( Tech support - Melbourne),  
         Carole McDonald rsm (Melbourne)

Pope Francis’ attention to combatting HT is helping to raise awareness about HT globally and to strongly encourage governments to address both prevention and protection of victims and survivors. E-news is reporting regularly on this issue and Anne Walsh (Editor) is alerting readers to valuable resources which could be used to raise awareness. The media have picked up on the horror of HT and are reporting more widely on incidents, including pornography – specifically using children - and slave labour within countries, specifically around sporting events e.g. the construction of stadia in both Brazil and Qatar, where migrant workers have been forced to live and work in appalling slave-like conditions.

Question we began to explore: How do we maximise on the collective Mercy Global Action on HT to oppose this heinous crime?
Another vital question pertains to the root causes of HT? How do we address these?

One possible common initiative relates to the current drafting process at the UN of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as part of the post 2015 development agenda. Aine gave a succinct, clear explanation of progress to date in respect of the SDG alerting the group to the goals that are most significant in respect of women and children. These encompass issues such as discrimination, equal pay for equal work; violence, land, assets, jobs, sexual and reproductive health and participation in decision making.

The group will reflect on the above to discuss further during our next Connect call. We also will discuss and clarify our focus as MIA in opposing HT, which has to recognise diversity, plus specific needs of victims and survivors at local and national level. In NZ this need is mainly around slave-labour, whilst in Ireland the focus of HT is primarily sexual exploitation.

On Friday 6 June, nine members of the Working Group on Cosmology and Environment linked up from around the world for a discussion on our ministry in this area.  Summary reports circulated prior to the meeting reflected the broad, eclectic range of responses to environmental issues, at local and national level.


            Top row. L-r: Anne Walsh (Tech support - Melbourne), Marilyn Brown rsm (Durban, Sth Africa), Patricia
             Powell rsm (Bathurst NSW), Bridget Crisp rsm (ANZ), Carmel Bracken rsm (Ireland)  
             Bottom Row. L-r: Kathleen Glennon rsm (Ireland), Denise Boyle fmdm (MIC Dublin), Marianne Comfort
            (Washington), Mary Tee rsm (Newfoundland), Rose Macharia rsm (Kenya)

Kathleen Glennon rsm captured the diversity well in the Minutes: Marilyn Brown rsm, South Africa, spoke of her work with young people and the Fourfold Way programme; through the programme she introduces participants to the wonder and beauty of nature. Rose Macharia rsm reported on the work of eco-justice being carried out in the Kenyan Province. Marcella O’Connell rsm told of her involvement with the Southern Province cosmology group in Ireland, her work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) , and with the inter-congregational group, ‘Future we Need’ (FWN). Carmel Bracken rsm, also in Ireland, spoke of being involved in raising awareness of the Consciousness Shift- of furthering evolution, plus her work with the SDG and active involvement with FWN group.

Mary Tee in Newfoundland, reported on the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice’s gardening project and its physical, mental and emotional therapeutic benefits and well as a profound kinship with nature. She spoke of her involvement with anti-fracking both locally and nationally; and her involvement with a number of climate coalitions; plus her walk with indigenous people for UN World Ocean day. Bridget Crisp rsm shared that the focus for Aotaeroa New Zealand, is primarily on Mining, Water and SDG. Patricia from Australia reported on the Mercy Institute’s commitment to furthering awareness of the new cosmology and the fragility of the planet. Awareness is growing among the sisters as cosmology/ecology has a significant role in Mercy chapters. The extractive industry is one of the key areas of focus, because of the extent of this mining process in Australia.

Whilst Marianne Comfort spoke of the Sisters of Mercy of the America work in legislative advocacy around the areas of Climate Change, Fracking, and Mining, Kathleen Glennon told of her work in furthering the New Cosmology through workshops and courses as well as working with the Transition Town movement. Kathleen recently published a book on creation spirituality called ‘A Sense of Place’, which is a reflection on the boglands of Kilteevan, Ireland.

The group agreed to work collaboratively through our networks, in two areas:
1. The issue of water and sanitation. This will include supporting the urgent, letter writing campaign Aine O’Connor is involved in, to get the right to water and sanitation re-inserted into the final draft of the SDG.
2. Involvement at national and international level in the ‘Global Frack-down Day’ campaign, 11 October. A small sub- group will work on possible activities for this event and upon agreement of the group, will circulate these suggestions to everyone inviting their participation in the campaign.

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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