Human Rights Justice Peace Programme


Training of Trainers, Human Rights Justice Peace Programme, ‘Eco Justice”

By Sam WilliamsScreen Shot 2016-04-06 at 2.57.44 PM

In October, I attended The Human Rights Justice Peace Programme, six days of engagement Eco Justice issues and held in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. SCM members from the Asia Pacific region were invited to join the meeting, with over ten nations represented.

This programme aimed to firstly give voice to environmental and human right violations that countries faced, and secondly to train leaders from various movements and mechanisms in which such issues can be given advocacy from their SCM’s. I was the delegate for SCM Aotearoa and unofficially the Pacific Islands by proxy as there was no representation from the Island nations. My main role in this programme was giving a perspective, from a more developed country, on issues facing more developing countries. As the only delegate born in the Australasian-Pacific region and person of non-Asian decent, I gave an explanation and context to some the major human rights and environmental issues facing this corner of the globe.

The highlight for me was after two days of discussion and learning, we were given an overnight exposure experience in various places in Jakarta. I visited the Ciliwung River Community located in central Jakarta. This community lives on the banks of the river with residents facing forced eviction from their houses, with some already having their homes demolished. Visiting this area gave me an opportunity to see first-hand some of the social injustice these people face, as well as the environmental/ecological suffering the river endures in the form of pollution.

This experience gave me a new found appreciation for the respect our central and local governments give us in New Zealand. Seeing the river in such a disgusting way, highlighted to me the importance of preserving and improving the quality of water ways we have. I realised how blessed we are in New Zealand that our water, in most places is clean enough to drink without filtration. However, these people have to use a well for drinking water, even though they live on the banks of a river.

The biggest challenge for me was communicating the human rights and environmental issues that face the Pacific region. I felt that any issue I expressed was discounted or ignored as it was considered of less importance to issues facing less developed countries. The language barrier may have been part of the issue, as I was expected to speak in the most basic English so everyone could understanding. Being the only natural English speaker held its challenges but I was very grateful that the programme was in English.

An important learning for me was the realization that all countries have issues. Some seem more significant than others, issues are different but all are important in their own setting.

As a result the Australian delegate and I discussed an approach where more focus needs to be placed upon the Pacific Island nations from the Australasian SCM’s. We felt a responsibility to speak up for and represent our Pacifica neighbours. I will be looking to raise this with and Otago SCM in the New Year.

National Conference 2015

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.14.12 PMOn the 25th – 27th of September the Student Christian Movement Aotearoa (SCMA) held their Annual General Meeting and National Conference. It was held in St Margaret’s Anglican Church on the beautiful cost of Brighton, Dunedin.   A dozen SCM’ers participated in the National Conference from across Aotearoa, learning about the successes and challenges that have been part of SCMA during 2014-2015. The theme for the National Conference was “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on Fire.” This quote is taken from St Catherine of Siena and it helped the participants think about the vocation that God has called them to.

The conference had the great privilege of having Rev. Joanne Fielding come and speak on the topic of vocation.  She talked to us about the way in which God calls each of us in Gods’ own way. Each person will be called in different ways and in their own time. Some people know what God wants them to do when others must spend time in prayer and contemplation over many years to find their own vocation. The conference was also told that it was important to listen to other people and what they think your vocation is as sometimes it is easier for other people to see what God is calling you to. As a group we learnt a lot about vocation and will take this information into our lives.    

After the study on vocation the conference heard the reports of the various people in leadership and those that had represented SCMA overseas at conferences and training programmes. These reports highlighted the great work that the members of SCMA are doing within Aotearoa and worldwide.

One of the most interesting reports that was given was from Rosina Scott-Fife and the amazing sub Regional Women’s Programme she and the Sub RWP committee ran.  Aleshia Lawson also gave a report about her experience over in New York at the World Student Christian Federation North America Leadership Training Programme (WSCF NA LTP).  From this opportunity Aleshia gained knowledge in leadership and the way in which different countries ran their own SCMs. The conference also received a report from John Graveston who is a member of the World Student Christian Federation Executive Committee, his report told the conference about the opportunities that WSCF can give and of the challenges that the Federation is facing at this current time.  It was great to hear about all the great work members of SCMA are doing and looking forward to the future endeavours of the movement.

Overall the National Conference was a wonderful experience. It allowed us to meet with other SCMers from across the nation and discuss SCMA on a larger scale then we normally do.  The venue was superb, the people were great and the party at the end will always be remembered.