From August 4-8, 2014, ninety-one representatives of VIVAT International from Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile met in Pikyry, Paraguay for a VIVAT International Workshop.
In the workshop, there were several presentations by local resource persons: “Biblical Bases for Justice and Peace”; “Justice and Peace in the Social Doctrine of the Church”; “The Current National situation and the Work of Lobbying”; and “The Experience of Human Rights in Paraguayan Context”.
The Executive team of VIVAT from New York and Geneva shared with the participants how VIVAT cooperates with the United Nations, particularly considering the shared objectives of both the UN and VIVAT International. The composition of the United Nations and its different organs were explained with special attention to how, as VIVAT members, we can work with the UN. The participants of the workshop were also informed of the process and importance of:
- The Universal Periodic Review carried out by the UN as a way to verify the dedication to human rights goals in
each country and
- CEDAW (Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) provides appropriate measures
for women to enjoy their rightful place and dignity and how countries could be made accountable for its implementation.
Presentations were given to reflect the global work of VIVAT International, but also provided several examples of collaborative efforts between the international and ever-growing number of nationally organized VIVAT groups. Workshop participants were informed about the process of establishing a national office of VIVAT, taking into consideration the legal requirements at the national and international level. The national VIVAT Groups of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile shared their experiences, achievements, and challenges as a national organization.
After reflecting on their experience in ministering with the people of Paraguay, the participants of the workshop identified two priorities for their ministry in the year ahead.
They felt that addressing these two issues will do much to enhance their collaboration with the people they serve.
The priority issues are:
a) For the members of VIVAT, to sensitize them to the needs of the communities and peoples they serve.
b) To sensitize/educate communities to help them prioritize the problems they want to address and to empower them to take appropriate actions to overcome their problems.
The issue of land grabbing affects indigenous peoples, farmers and urban dwellers. We want to assist these communities in protecting their right to their land and prevent the degradation and destruction of the environment by landgrabbers.