Call to Release the Panchen Lama

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today reiterated its call for the Chinese government to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience. On May 15, 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama chose the then six-year-old Gedhun to be the 11th Panchen Lama. Three days later, Chinese authorities kidnapped him and his family. He has not been seen or heard from since.

The second highest lama in Tibetan Buddhism is the Panchen Lama. The title Panchen Lama, meaning “great scholar,” was bestowed by the Fifth Dalai Lama on a tulku who was fourth in a lineage of rebirths, and so he became the 4th Panchen Lama.

The current Panchen Lama is the 11th. However, His Holiness Gedhun Choekyi Nyima (born 1989) and his family were taken into Chinese custody shortly after his recognition was made public in 1995. The Panchen Lama and his family have not been seen since. A pretender appointed by Beijing, Gyaltsen Norbu, has served as Panchen Lama in his place.

Read more

Korean Conference of Religions for Peace supports Myanmar Freedoms

Korean Conference of Religions for PeaceThe Korean Conference of Religions for Peace Supports the People’s Protest in Myanmar. The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace is deeply in pain as the Myanmarese protest for democracy. We will pray and act for the situation to be quickly resolved and democracy restored in Myanmar. We will be in solidarity with the religious people in Asia and the world to protect the Myanmarese.

Read more

Survey: LGBTIQ and Religious Freedom in Australia

Rainbow flagThe Australian Research Council has funded a university based survey on the experience of LGBTIQ people in Australia and Religious Freedom. It is an important survey and will map out future needs for religious freedom and practice by LGBTIQ people and to survey the path to practice of their faith in Australia without discrimination.

Read more

The Sydney Statement

The Sydney StatementThe Sydney Statement is an interfaith charter for building bridges between believers from different religions. It is available in booklet, A4 size and full size poster format. The Sydney Statement is the work of Parliament of World Religions Youth in Sydney over several years and was launched online recently. As the work of Australian Youth, it is a work of high merit.

Read more

In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, religious leaders urge “concentric circles of peace”

hypocentre of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki.

Religious leaders in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are welcoming the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, even as Japan’s Christian council “regrets” that the government has not supported or ratified the treaty.

“We ask the government of Japan to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty as soon as possible,” the National Christian Council in Japan said in a 27 January statement, saying that the treaty “collects the wisdom of humanity,” and is “a major step in humanity’s long walk toward hope and ideal.”

Read more

Halki Summit IV – COVID-19 and Climate Change: Living with and Learning from a Pandemic

Halki Summit IV - COVID-19 and Climate Change: Living with and Learning from a Pandemic

Halki Summit IV, this year in the format of a series of webinars, will explore the theme “COVID-19 and Climate Change: Living With and Learning from a Pandemic.”

The series, which will be presented 26-28 January, will feature a presentation by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, along with theologians, scientists, and environmentalists who will serve as panelists and respond to live questions from the audience.

The summit is named for the island of Halki, or Heybeliada, on which the first such gathering was originally convened. The summit assembles focused groups from diverse religious and social, as well as civil and corporate sectors, including eminent theologians and speakers from across the ecumenical spectrum.

Read more

Union of Progressive Judaism: 2020 Vision

Union of Progressive Judaism logoThe Union of Progressive Judaism will conduct a one-day virtual biennial with sessions exploring a compelling vision of Progressive Judaism for 2020 and beyond, and new ways to connect and build strong communities and congregations for the future. The Virtual Biennial will be preceded by Kabbalat Shabbat hosted by the United Hebrew Congregation of Singapore on Friday 6 November at 6.00pm and Havdalah co-hosted by Temple Beth Israel (Melbourne) and North Shore Temple Emanuel (Sydney) on Saturday 7 November at 8.30pm.

Read more

Essay competition for youth: “The Future of Interreligious Dialogue”

World Council of Churches logoThe World Council of Churches has announced an essay competition for youth who want to reflect on the theme “The Future of Interreligious Dialogue.” The contest marks the 50th anniversary of the WCC’s Office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation.

Read more

WCC, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue release “Serving a Wounded World” document

Serving a Wounded World coverThe World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue have released a joint document, “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond.” Its purpose is to encourage churches and Christian organizations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more

New Report about Conscientious Objection

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the a new legislation factsheet about conscientious objection, which is the right to refuse military service based on religious beliefs.

Read more

Australian celebrities join forces to combat racism in new campaign

DoMore Anti Racism CampaignHugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Nick Kyrgios, Ben Simmons and Sam Kerr are among the Australian celebrities featured in the new DoMore anti-racism campaign. #DoMore is a call to action for Australians wanting to be more informed, more educated, and more engaged in challenging racism. The #DoMore Project will use the stories of Australians of all backgrounds to challenge existing beliefs and raise awareness of the impact of racism. By understanding how we can all do more, we’ll help create an equal future for all Australians.

Read more

Marking The International Day Commemorating The Victims Of Acts Of Violence Based On Religion Or Belief

United Nations LogoOn August 22, the UN marks the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, a day designated by the UN for states to step up their efforts to combat intolerance, discrimination and violence against persons based on religion or belief. Establishing the day was a direct response to the ever-growing issue of violence based on religion or belief, including in their most severe manifestations of international crimes, as crimes against humanity, war crimes and even genocide.

Read more