Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Support Father Raymond Gravel in his lawsuit against LifeSite News.

Father Raymond Gravel is prosecuting Life Site News for its irresponsible and hateful campaign to destroy him and ruin his reputation. This Quebec priest, who is a strong supporter of Development and Peace, is urgently in need of funds to allow his case of libel, scorn and incitement to hatred to advance in the Quebec courts. See National Post (link) story on this.

If he wins his lawsuit for $500,000 civil damages, Father Gravel is willing to donate a significant amount to Development and Peace.

The hate campaign by this same web site against Development and Peace and its unfounded and inflammatory allegations against the organization launched the controversy that led to the defunding by D&P of Mexican human rights organization PRODH. A win for Father Gravel in this case would be a significant victory in the battle against such hate speech and poorly argued malicious attacks against Catholic social teaching that are the central focus of these blogs.

Father Gravel has been the object of vilification by LifeSitenews.com because of the questions he has raised on Catholic Church teachings on sexuality, for his ministry with the gay community in Montreal’s gay village and for his defense of women’s rights.

He writes on his blog:

“Many people cannot understand how a priest who preaches the Gospel can sue a catholic organization. For nearly eight years now, several defamatory articles about me have been published on this site and have served to misinform the population at large about me. On several occasions, I have sent them articles written by me, translated into English to allow them to correct the misinformation. They have never done this. On the contrary, they have urged people to write letters of condemnation about me to my religious authorities, including my Bishop, going as far as the Vatican, by writing to the Papal Nuncio in Ottawa. This site is widely consulted by Christians in English Canada and in the US. I receive hundreds of emails, and letters, all of them insulting, and I am the object of continual harassment from catholic readers of this site.

…I therefore decided to try a libel lawsuit in order to reestablish justice and shed light on the truth regarding who I am.

It is true that the Gospel calls us to forgiveness and to mercy and love. I do not question these gospel values. Does Jesus not say, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice: theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew, 5: 10.) ? We must therefore understand that if some have been persecuted for the sake of justice, it is no doubt because they have fought for justice, if not, they would never have been persecuted…

I believe sincerely in forgiveness, mercy and unconditional love. However, this is no way cancels out the duty we have to restore justice and unveil the truth. It is a question of dignity, as when this is trampled on, we have to do everything we can to restore it.

I thank all those who have supported me in this ordeal. Some have wished to make a financial contribution to my lawsuit. If you would like to make a donation, click on the following link:
or please send a cheque to the following address:
Raymond Gravel
11,200 boul Pie IX
CP 129
Quebec H1H 5L2

My sincere thanks,

Father Raymond Gravel
Diocese of Joliette
Chaplain of Montreal firefighters and Laval police officers

Monday, 27 June 2011

Mexican human rights center weathers challenges to its advocacy work

By David Agren
Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Jacinta Francisco Marcial sold ice cream in the state of Queretaro until she was accused in 2006 of kidnapping six federal agents who were searching for illegal merchandise.

Marcial, an indigenous Otomi and unable to speak Spanish, spent three years in prison until lawyers from the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, also known as Centro Pro, assumed her case, which eventually became a national scandal. Mexico's Office of the Attorney General finally dropped the case in September 2009.

Centro Pro has won fame for defending the poor and oppressed, wading into difficult land disputes and confronting impunity -- all in a country with a less-than-transparent legal system and frequent abuses of power.

The center's work has won awards. The Mexico City legislative assembly, for one, cited the Centro Pro for its work on behalf of Marcial.

But with the fame and awards have come controversy. The Archdiocese of Mexico City and foreign critics have charged that Centro Pro improperly associated itself with groups working to decriminalize abortion and implement same-sex marriage laws.

The accusations, made in a letter signed by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, prompted the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the charitable arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, to drop funding for Centro Pro earlier this year.

The controversy once again highlights the conundrum of how Catholics should support foreign groups, including those that might occasionally work on broader human rights issues with groups openly in favor of public policies that go against church teachings.

It also points to the tensions in Mexico between the country's most senior prelates and human rights groups.

Jesuit Father Jose Rosario Marroquin, Centro Pro's director, recognizes the controversies courted by one of the Mexico's oldest and best known human rights groups and acknowledges the discomfort it has caused for some Catholic leaders who have preferred not to antagonize the federal government since relations between Mexico and the Vatican were restored in 1992.

"It's never done classic, religious work. Centro Pro speaks against the military. Centro Pro speaks of the justice system," Father Marroquin told Catholic News Service.

It also counts on support from many Catholics within Mexico.

"The position of the archdiocese is different from the bishops' conference," he said.

"With the bishops, we participate in the social ministry ... they invite us to events, they invite us to give our opinions."

The most recent controversies involving Centro Pro began with the award for defending Marcial, Father Marroquin said.

Centro Pro was honored last year, along with Catholics for the Right to Decide, an organization the Mexico City Archdiocese said is non-Catholic. A photo of the group's representatives -- including the then-Centro Pro director, Jesuit Father Luis Arriaga -- was taken as part of the ceremony. The website LifeSiteNews.com cited the photo earlier this year as an improper association made by Centro Pro.

Excerpts of Cardinal Rivera's letter, published in the Catholic Register in Canada, accused Centro Pro of promoting pro-abortion groups.

The photo and accusations were not Centro Pro's first brushes with controversy. Centro Pro participated with more than 100 non-governmental groups in crafting a 10-page report for Mexico's 2009 human rights evaluation by the United Nations, Father Marroquin said.

Critics said some of the authors had promoted a Mexico City law decriminalizing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Father Marroquin said the human rights report required a cooperative effort between groups with disparate viewpoints, and the final document made no mention of abortion.

"It was worth the effort to coordinate ourselves and present just one report with our points of view on human rights," Father Marroquin said.

"We worked on what we had seen and what we knew: the military, public security, the justice system and some things about the development of mega projects."

Development and Peace investigated the matter in 2009 and found no wrongdoing. The posture was reversed earlier this year after the publication of Cardinal Rivera's letter.

Father Hugo Valdemar Romero, spokesman for the Mexico City Archdiocese, said Catholic groups cannot "play a double game" by working with others whose work violates church teachings. Accepting an award alongside such groups also was unacceptable, he said.

"I know that the cardinal has received many letters from Catholics scandalized by this matter," he said.

The withdrawal of support from Development and Peace will not affect Centro Pro's ability to handle complex and controversial cases, Father Marroquin said, although it will require taking some austerity measures.

Controversy, Father Marroquin said, has been frequent for Centro Pro since its founding by Jesuits in the late 1980s, especially for its defense of suspects accused of offenses pertaining to the Zapatista uprising of the mid 1990s. It was a position unpopular with many bishops.

A more recent case focused on farmers in Guerrero state, who fought back against logging companies illegally harvesting trees on their land.

The farmers, Teodoro Cabrera and Rodolfo Montiel, were detained by the military in a 1999 raid, tortured, charged with weapons offenses and imprisoned. The men were released on humanitarian grounds in 2001, but, with help of Centro Pro lawyers, the case went to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the farmers won.

"Without the help of (Centro Pro), he would still be in prison for something he didn't do," Cabrera's wife, Ubalda Cortes, said at a June 21 event held by the Interior Ministry to mark Mexico's acceptance of the decision.

"They were with us ... from the beginning."

Thursday, 23 June 2011

End of Petition Campaign Letter by "Soutenons Developpement et paix" blog members

"Having achieved our goal of expressing our opinion in large numbers to the Management and the National Council for Development and Peace, we decided to stop the petition. We will follow the events. Thank you for your support and good summer. You will find below (in French) and English, the signatures of the petition we have sent to Michael Casey.


Montreal, June 21, 2011

Mr. Michael Casey

Executive Director

Development and Peace


Mr. Casey,

We are sending on the petition mounted in defence of Development and Peace’s basic orientations, its democratic functioning, and its proven system of relationships with partners in the South. In a very short period of time, almost 1,200 people added their names, a fact that suggests how fervently members and supporters believe in the need to preserve Development and Peace’s identity.

We remain astounded by your undemocratic introduction of a major shift in Development and Peace’s way of operating, and particularly the unjust dropping of a long time reliable partner, Mexico’s Centre PRODH, on the sole basis of allegations that themselves had been refuted by the CCCB’s 2009 inquiry mission. The March 24 letter from Luis Arriaga to the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and the recent letter from the Canadian and Mexican Superiors of the Society of Jesus speak to the questionable nature of Development and Peace’s procedure in this case.

We do not consider the matter closed by the National Council’s recent declaration that reaffirms Development and Peace’s autonomy in relation to the CCCB. Concrete action still needs to be taken and an injustice perpetrated against the Centre PRODH remains to be rectified. We will continue to follow this question vigilantly and to keep Development and Peace as an organization and the general public informed of events as they occur.

Sincerely yours,

Normand Breault, Lucille Plourde, Gérard Laverdue, Constance Vaudrin.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Statement of Development and Peace Unionized employees on the June 2011 Meeting of the National Council

Meeting on June 10, 11 and 12, the National Council of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, an international solidarity movement, adopted an important resolution related to a crisis that has been rocking the organization for several months. The resolution reiterates the commitment of Development and Peace to its fundamental mission and modes of operation.

The National Council, the movement’s highest decision-making body, clearly stated that in order for it “to live out its preferential option for the poor and to deliver on its mandate, it should be able to continue to work in networks and form alliances in the North and the Global South

In the resolution, the National Council also affirms that it “should retain the capacity to make decisions regarding its international programs and partnerships in the Global South and in the North, and that this is a fundamental element in enabling the effectiveness of its program.”

The preamble to this resolution underscores that many of the organization’s members and partners have been asking the management of Development and Peace to reconsider certain decisions, notably with regard to the direct involvement of bishops in the South in monitoring certain partnerships and the elimination of funding for the Mexican partner organization PRODH.

This resolution comes on the heels of a series of accusations made against Development and Peace by certain socially conservative groups who claim that the organization maintains links with partners that promote abortion or contraception. Even though the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) investigated and countered these allegations in 2009, the accusations being circulated by these groups have achieved their objectives regarding PRODH, a long-standing partnership. Under the pressure of such increasingly radical lobbying, the management of Development and Peace recently tried to impose fundamental changes in processes related to its partnerships in the Global South. The National Council reminded management that such changes must be debated and decided upon, in a transparent fashion, by the appropriate decision-making bodies.

The Union is encouraged

The Employees Union of Development and Peace, which represents some 60 staff members of the organization, is pleased to see that the members of the National Council share the employees’ concerns and that they support their international solidarity action, which first and foremost is geared towards integral human development.

“Compelling us to secure a letter of support from a local bishop before partnering with a group or insisting that our partners cannot participate in coalitions with organizations that do not share all the moral precepts of the Catholic Church will undercut the very foundations of the work we have been doing for the past 44 years. In our opinion, these measures would not improve the daily lives of the vulnerable citizens with whom we work,” explains Marcelle Sinclair, President of the Employees’ Union of Development and Peace.

Special Committee Formed

The National Council agreed to set up a five-member committee to meet with the CCCB Standing Committee on CCODP and to formulate recommendations. The Union wishes its voice to be heard in these discussions: “We are the people who are best positioned to measure the impact of these changes to how we go about doing things,” explains Marcelle Sinclair.

The Union also seeks to defend the principles of democracy and transparency within Development and Peace: “The National Council is where the major decisions must be made. This speaks to the very independence and autonomy of Development and Peace, a movement that we all hold dear,” says Ms. Sinclair. “It should be pointed out that the resolution stipulates that recommendations arising from the dialogue with the CCCB must be studied, discussed and decided upon at the next meeting of the National Council.”

Development and Peace has been engaged in the fight for social justice around the world for the past 44 years. The sixty unionized employees who work with the organization are members of the CSN which is affiliated with the Federation of Public Service Employees (FEESP–CSN), the Metropolitan Montreal Central Council and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux. The CSN, which has some 300,000 members, marks its 90th anniversary this year.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Communiqué: Syndicat des employé-es de D&P

Les 10, 11 et 12 juin derniers, le Conseil national de Développement et Paix, mouvement catholique de solidarité internationale, a adopté une résolution importante en rapport avec la crise qui secoue l’organisme depuis quelques mois. Celle-ci réitère l’appui des membres de Développement et paix à sa mission fondamentale et à son fonctionnement.

Le Conseil, plus haute instance décisionnelle de l’organisation, a ainsi « déclaré clairement sa position voulant que la mise en œuvre de sa mission et la réalisation de son option préférentielle pour les pauvres dépendent de sa capacité de continuer de travailler en réseaux et en coalition au Nord comme au Sud ». Dans la résolution, le Conseil national souligne également que : « Développement et Paix doit maintenir sa capacité décisionnelle dans le cadre de ses programmes et partenariats au Sud et au Nord, et qu’il s’agit d’un élément fondamental de l’efficacité de notre programme ».

Le préambule de cette résolution souligne que les membres et alliés de l’organisme sont nombreux à réclamer que la direction de Développement et paix revienne sur certaines décisions, notamment en ce qui a trait à l’implication directe des évêques du Sud dans le suivi des partenariats et à la suppression du financement à l’organisme partenaire mexicain PRODH.

Cette résolution fait suite à une série d’accusations formulées à l’égard de Développement et Paix par des groupes catholiques ultra conservateurs qui prétendent que l’organisme est en lien avec des partenaires qui promeuvent l’avortement ou la contraception. Même si la Conférence des évêques catholiques canadiens (CECC) a, en 2009, enquêté et réfuté ces allégations, les rumeurs alimentées par ces groupes ont fini par avoir raison d’un partenariat de longue date. Sous la pression d’une mouvance de plus en plus radicale, la direction de Développement et paix a cherché dernièrement à imposer des changements fondamentaux à la façon de travailler avec les partenaires du Sud. Le Conseil national vient de rappeler à la direction que de tels changements doivent être débattus et décidés, de façon transparente, dans les instances appropriées.

Le syndicat encouragé

Le Syndicat des employé-e-s de Développement et paix (CSN), représentant les quelque 60 salarié-es de l’organisme se réjouit de constater que les membres du Conseil national partagent les préoccupations des employé-es de l’organisme et qu’ils soutiennent leur action de solidarité internationale visant d’abord et avant tout le développement humain.
« Nous obliger à obtenir une lettre d’appui d’un évêque local pour travailler en partenariat ou encore nous forcer à exclure de travailler en coalition avec des organismes qui ne défendent pas l’agenda moral de l’Église c’est remettre en cause les fondements de notre travail depuis 44 ans, et quant à nous, ce ne serait vraiment pas pour améliorer le quotidien des populations vulnérables que nous appuyons », explique la présidente du syndicat, Marcelle Sinclair.

Comité spécial

Le Conseil national a convenu de mettre sur pied un comité de cinq membres pour rencontrer le comité permanent de la CECC et formuler des recommandations. Le syndicat souhaite être entendu dans cette discussion : « Nous sommes celles et ceux qui sommes les mieux à même de mesurer les impacts de ces changements à nos façons de faire » explique Marcelle Sinclair.

Le syndicat entend aussi défendre la démocratie et la transparence au sein de Développement et Paix : « C’est au Conseil national que des décisions fondamentales doivent être prises. Il en va de l’indépendance et de l’autonomie de Développement et Paix qui nous tiennent tous à cœur ». Soulignons que la résolution prévoit que les recommandations résultant du dialogue avec la CECC devront être étudiées, discutées et décidées lors d’une prochaine rencontre du Comité national de Développement et Paix.

(Développement et Paix œuvre depuis 44 ans pour la justice dans le monde. Environ 60 personnes y travaillent. Leur syndicat CSN est affilié à la Fédération des employées et employés de services publics (FEESP-CSN), au Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain et à la Confédération des syndicats nationaux. Réunissant 300 000 travailleuses et travailleurs, la CSN célèbre cette année ses 90 ans.)

Statement by the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding recent questions concerning Development and Peace

(Francais - CCCB website)

Meeting in Ottawa this 15-16 June, the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) reaffirmed their confidence in the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). The CCCB Plenary Assembly last October also made a similar reaffirmation.

The Bishops of Canada founded Development and Peace. They have always been involved with it by the presence of their episcopal delegates on the CCODP National Council. The Bishops are proud of the work accomplished by Development and Peace over the past 40 years, and want to ensure its survival and mission for many years to come.

The Bishops of Canada have wanted, and still want, Development and Peace to be an organization led by lay men and women. They want Development and Peace to continue its mission as a non-governmental organization dedicated to the development of countries in the Global South, as well as to popular education for the Church communities in Canada.

As has also happened over the past 40 years, certain questions have been raised during recent months about how this organization carries out its mission. A dialogue on this has already begun, involving Development and Peace and the CCCB Standing Committee on CCODP. The Permanent Council is confident that this dialogue will provide responses to these questions and assist Development and Peace to continue its mission with serenity.

16 June 2011

Thursday, 16 June 2011

D&P flexes its muscles

Written by Michael Swan, The Catholic Register
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 11:59

Canadian bishops are welcome to advise Development and Peace about overseas partnerships but D&P members are asserting their right to make final decisions about which organizations are funded.

D&P’s national council passed a unanimous resolution at a June 10-12 meeting that essentially reaffirms that funding decisions will be made by the council and its 12,000 strong predominantly lay members.

The national council consists of 20 elected, volunteer representatives from across Canada, plus bishops Richard Grecco of P.E.I and Claude Champagne of New Brunswick. D&P acts as the international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada.

The national council resolution came in the wake of a recent decision by the D&P executive, acting on abortion-related allegations expressed by a Mexican cardinal, to revoke the funding of the Mexican human rights organization Centro PRODH. That decision prompted a defiant resolution from D&P members in Quebec and New Brunswick in support of Centro PRODH and calling for restoration of its funding.

Although the national council discussed the controversy surrounding Centro PRODH’s funding, it did not take a position on the matter. Instead, it established a D&P committee to work with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to talk through the issues and the funding process.

“That resolution (from Quebec and New Brunswick members) was discussed and it was not overturned. It was decided to refer it to this (new) committee to discuss the whole situation with the bishops,” national council president Ron Breau told The Catholic Register.

A final decision on Centro PRODH funding should come up at the next national council meeting in November, Breau said.

“There’s been a lot of hurt and a lot of anger regarding that issue with PRODH,” he said. “But we have a lot more partners. We have 130 partners and we have to look at the well-being of everyone.”

The new D&P committee will almost certainly ask the bishops about a recently surfaced letter from former Centro PRODH executive director Fr. Luis Arriaga to Archdiocese of Ottawa chancellor Fr. Christian Riesbeck. The March 24 letter was posted June 13 to www.soutenonsdetp.wordpress.com, a Quebec blog in support of D&P. The 1,900-word letter from Arriaga rejects accusations that Centro PRODH supports organizations that lobby for legal abortion in Mexico.

“Centro PRODH is falsely and without foundation accused of having supported Mexican legislation related to abortion,” Arriaga wrote.

With respect to his own record on abortion, the Jesuit lawyer and scholar said: “As a priest, I duly respect and recognize the Catholic position related to abortion and I have never declared any public position regarding this issue.”

In a letter from Mexico City’s Cardinal Norberto Carrera to the CCCB, the Cardinal claimed Centro PRODH “has supported pro-abortion groups and promoted the purported woman’s right over her body, against unborn life.”

While the D&P national council has sought dialogue with the bishops, it hasn’t made any statement about abortion.

“We haven’t said anything about abortion because we’re not involved in abortion at all,” said Breau. “We’re a pro-life group in the largest sense of the word. We’re an organization that focusses its values on Catholic social teaching and the value of life. There’s over 850 million people who lack food to eat. We’re doing programs for babies, for children, for education, for human rights — trying to work with victims of violence. We’re all about life.”

Breau said Development and Peace members are “frustrated with wrongful allegations, misinformation and innuendo that comes out of some of the blogs with unfounded sources. It’s something very hard to respond to – innuendo and suppositions and that kind of thing.”

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Letter of Fr. Luisa Arriaga to Archdiocese of Ottawa

March 24, 2011

Fr. Christian Riesbeck, CC
Archdiocese of Ottawa

Dear Fr. Riesbeck,

Blessings from the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (“Center Prodh”).

I am writing to respond to your letter regarding the defamation of our organization by certain groups that have falsely accused us of supporting abortion in Mexico. The topic of abortion has never been included in the mandate or the work of Center Prodh. We respect the point of view of various groups, but we protest the defamation to which we have been subjected. As a priest, I duly respect and recognize the Catholic position related to abortion and I have never declared any public position regarding this issue.

First, I would like to clarify the nature of our organization and the work which we do on behalf of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized in our country.

Center Prodh was founded by the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus in 1988. Its purpose is to defend and promote respect for human rights. Our work is part of the service of faith and promotion of justice which is the central mission of the Jesuits at the international level. The preferential option of Center Prodh is for the marginalized and excluded. Our priority areas are women, indigenous peoples, migrants and victims of social repression.

Center Prodh began its work more than twenty years ago amid a climate of repression by the Mexican state against social activists, church and political leaders, and communities and organizations who were making social demands. From the outset, we have defended civil and political rights, expanding our mandate in 2002 to include the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights, due to the inseparability of all human rights.

In September 2001, Center Prodh received consultative status before the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Center Prodh has likewise been recognized since 2004 as an accredited organization before the Organization of American States.

Our team is comprised of human rights professionals. I myself, the director, am a lawyer and a specialist in international human rights law.

Center Prodh maintains strong ties with the Social Apostolate Committee of the Mexican Bishops Conference. Currently, I am working with them as a consultant, supporting various dioceses in their work to improve the human rights situation in their region. Enclosed please find letter.

In close collaboration with the Diocese of San Cristóbal, in 2009 Center Prodh began a process to strengthen the traditional indigenous Tseltal justice system in Bachajón, Chiapas. Another important process is Center Prodh’s assistance in the work of the Diocese of Saltillo, in collaboration with the Apostolate of Human Mobility, in the defense and promotion of the human rights of migrants. In addition, during 2010, Center Prodh collaborated with the Diocese of Tuxpán by providing educational workshops and training to pastoral workers. The previous year, we carried out a number of “Introduction to Human Rights” workshops with over 260 pastoral workers.

With the aim of facilitating such training and workshops, Center Prodh developed a Manual of Social Pastoral Work. This publication contributes to the education of pastoral workers, with the goal of encouraging reflection on the work and motivations of those participating in the groups, as well as the link between human rights and justice.

In the article you mention in your letter, Center Prodh is falsely and without foundation accused of having supported Mexican legislation related to abortion. Allow me to clarify this issue.

Without losing their respective identities, non-governmental organizations come together in open and heterogeneous spaces with groups with different interests and perspectives, in order to combine their forces in certain specific processes. In these circles, Center Prodh participates as an equal in making decisions, and maintains its autonomy and independence.

As a prestigious human rights organization, Center Prodh maintains a close relationship with national organizations such as the Network of All Rights for All, Amnesty International Mexico, Fundar, and at the international level with the International Coalition of Human Rights Organizations, the World Organization Against Torture, and Human Rights Watch, among others. Some of these organizations do not belong to, and are not related to, the work of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, they are excellent allies in concrete cases which benefit specific individuals.

For the process of Mexico’s Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council, Mexican non-governmental organizations decided to present a collective report, following the rules established for this mechanism. In no part of the document is it stated that all of the themes are endorsed by all of the organizations, but rather that in collaboration a general perspective is being provided.

The paragraphs dedicated to this sensitive topic were contributed by other organizations, as this is not a topic on which Center Prodh works, like many of the other issues addressed in this global document. This document did not allow for the presentation of the diversity of nuances and focuses of the many organizations involved, much less for detailed explanation of the divergences between them, especially given the length limitation.

Similarly, the flyer referred to in your letter, which was published in the journal “Público,” was signed by a network in which Center Prodh takes part. I reiterate that we do not address the issue of abortion in our work.

In relation to my participation in a Forum on violence against women organized by Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir I would like to clarify my participation. In this space many priests were invited to talk about violence against women, tragically a reality which continues to be a systematic practice in Mexico. My exposition was on the violence committed by state agents against women in Mexico; specifically I spoke of the case of San Salvador Atenco, in which Center Prodh is representing the victims. During my intervention I never addressed the subject of abortion.

I would also like to add that in 2009 a Commission from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops visited Center Prodh to investigate accusations related to our participation in the Universal Periodic Review and our alleged support for abortion. This Commission concluded that the allegations were unfounded and that the topic of abortion has never been included in the mandate or the work of Center Prodh.

Our reference points are our own ethical convictions, but also the universality of human rights. This universality has been consolidated and expressed through the international legal order.

The priority of Center Prodh is to cause no harm to anyone. Our priorities focus on the defense of the dignity and human rights of indigenous peoples, migrants, women and victims of social repression. The topics we work on are: access to justice, security and civil and political rights, as well as economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

The selection criteria we use to identify our beneficiaries come directly from the 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus: “the criterion of « greater need » points towards places or situations of serious injustice; the criterion of « more fruitful, » towards ministry which can be more effective in creating communities of solidarity; the criterion of « more universal, » towards action which contributes to structural change to create a society more based on shared responsibility.”

Center Prodh’s work over the past 22 years in defense, education, monitoring, and in raising national and international awareness, has resulted in concrete benefits for the poorest sectors in Mexican society.

Center Prodh has contributed to establishing a culture of human rights in Mexico. Through the Center’s work, more than 4,000 human rights defenders throughout the country have received training. As a result of this support, many communities have a local committee for the defense and promotion of human rights. In 2010 alone, more than 900 human rights defenders received training from Center Prodh throughout the country,
including in the poorest and most violent states in Mexico.

In addition, the defense of paradigmatic cases which exemplify structural and systematic human rights violations in Mexico have brought about concrete benefits for the victims, their families and communities, and for Mexican society in general. Center Prodh’s defense of Jacinta Francisco Marcial, Alberta González and Teresa Alcántara, three indigenous women falsely accused of kidnapping six federal agents, resulted in their liberation and return to their community, and also resulted in a notable precedent from the Supreme Court related to due process. At the same time, the defense of this case shed light on the often forgotten reality of the discrimination and vulnerability faced by indigenous women before the Mexican justice system.

Another important achievement of Center Prodh was the Inter-American Court of Human Rights sentence in the case of the campesino ecologists Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera. Rodolfo and Teodoro organized a group to protect the forests of their community in response to increasing illegal deforestation. Because of their efforts, they were detained by the Army and tortured in order to extract confessions for crimes they had not committed. Center Prodh took on the defense of Rodolfo and Teodoro ten years ago. Early on their liberation was achieved, and recently a sentence was handed down by the Inter-American Court. This sentence requires Mexico to take measures to prevent future human rights violations.

Over the course of these years, the situation in Mexico has changed. Not all changes have been favourable, especially for those who are oppressed by, or excluded from, society. Center Prodh’s issues and strategies have also had to change: through these changes we express our unshakeable commitment to the creation of conditions which will make possible a society free from violence, oppression and fear.

The many faces of the people whose hopes and struggles we take on, along with their suffering and anger, have become specific faces. They are not only, in a generic way, victims of human rights violations whose stories affect our hearts and minds. Their stories speak of all the abuses experienced as a result of their condition: for being women, for being indigenous, for being poor, for demanding their rights, for wanting to decide on their own way of life, for not resigning themselves to the way things are. By joining in their struggle we have taken on a story woven by those who have wanted to bring about a better world.

As a Jesuit, a member of a religious order in which I have been able to cultivate a spirituality which arises from the desire to listen to the voices of the suffering, I recognize that much is missing in the effort to bring about a more egalitarian society. We should learn from those who work day after day to build equal relationships, free from all forms of domination and violence. We should learn from those who are telling us, with a voice that is often silenced, that all people have rights and that nobody, for any reason, can order the contrary.

The victims themselves are those who can best describe the work of Center Prodh. We have tried to bring hope to confront the difficult realities facing our country. Our work is directed to the construction of a society that is more just, egalitarian and fraternal, work that is essential in Mexico. These concerns address the mission which Center Prodh has been given, and are also the concerns which weigh on the poorest sectors of Mexican society.

Thank you for your attention. I’ll be glad to discuss our work when I visit Ottawa at the beginning of April.

In Christ,

Luis Arriaga Valenzuela, S.J.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Relations avec les partenaires au Sud Le conseil national de Développement et Paix prend position

13 juin 2011


Développement et Paix est un organisme catholique, à base démocratique, qui dans la mise en œuvre de sa mission de justice sociale et d’option préférentielle pour les pauvres, a la responsabilité de prendre les décisions nécessaires concernant les projets et programmes qu'il appuie, tant au Sud qu'au Nord.

C’est ce qu’ont affirmé, par résolution unanime, les membres du conseil national de l'organisme réunis à Montréal cette fin de semaine.

En tant que mouvement laïc, fidèle à sa mission, à l’enseignement social de l’Église et en lien étroit avec les évêques du Canada, Développement et Paix, bâtissant sur une riche expérience de 44 ans, continuera d’appuyer et de travailler avec des groupes qui œuvrent pour la justice dans le monde.

Le conseil national, la plus haute instance du mouvement, a aussi déclaré que l'organisme poursuivra son engagement «à œuvrer à l'intérieur de réseaux et de coalitions, tant au Sud comme au Nord».

C’est un comité de cinq personnes qui portera le dialogue avec le comité permanent, nouvellement créé par la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada (CÉCC) afin de se pencher sur les relations de partenariats au Sud. «Toute recommandation résultant de ces rencontres sera ramenée pour discussion et décision par le conseil national», ont résolu les membres du conseil national, composé de vingt-et-un bénévoles de toutes les provinces du Canada et de deux évêques.

Le conseil national de Développement et Paix a longuement discuté de la controverse suscitée par l'annulation récente de la visite d'un partenaire, le jésuite Luis Arriaga, directeur du Centre ProDH, un organisme mexicain de défense des droits humains. Concernant la cessation de soutien financier à ce dernier, les membres du conseil national ont demandé à ce que ce sujet soit discuté avec la CÉCC et que la question soit reportée pour suivi lors de leur prochaine rencontre prévue en novembre.

Président du conseil national, Ronald Breau estime que cette controverse a non seulement été vécue difficilement par Développement et Paix et ses membres mais a également eu des impacts directs sur les partenaires de l'organisme. «Nous devons nous rappeler que ce sont les peuples du Sud qui sont les premiers acteurs du développement et ce sont leurs voix qui doivent continuer à guider nos actions. Nous nous engageons d’ailleurs à travailler avec eux pour mettre en place des protocoles de partenariat, conformes aux principes de l’enseignement social de l’Église (notamment, le bien commun et la subsidiarité) et respectueux des principes du développement durable et intégral, comme le préconise l’encyclique Caritas in veritate».

Il a tenu à remercier tous les individus, groupes et communautés qui ont fait connaître leurs préoccupations et leur appui moral ces dernières semaines. «Nous voulons les rassurer. Développement et Paix continue d'être la voix de justice sociale au Canada et un appui solidaire aux sœurs et frères du Sud qui luttent contre l'injustice et la souffrance humaine dans le monde».

- 30 -

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE National Council Takes Position on Partnership with the Global South

June 13, 2011


DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is a Catholic organization with a broad democratic base. Its mission of social justice is inspired by the Gospel values of a preferential option for the poor, and the organization has responsibility for all necessary decisions concerning its programs and projects in the Global South, as well as in the North. This is what DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s National Council affirmed in a unanimous resolution at their meeting in Montreal this weekend. As a lay movement, faithful to its mission and to Catholic social teaching, and working in close collaboration with the bishops of Canada, it will build on its rich experience of 44 years and continue to support and work with groups struggling for justice in the world.
The DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE National Council, the movement’s highest decision-making body representing members from across the country, also declared that DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE will continue its ministry "working within networks and alliances in the Global South and the North."

A committee of five members will serve in the dialogue with the newly-formed Standing Committee on DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), created to accompany and provide guidance to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE in a spirit of organizational reflection and renewal. "All recommendations arising from these discussions will be forwarded and decided upon by National Council," resolved the members of the National Council, which is composed of 21 volunteer representatives from all provinces in Canada and two appointed Canadian bishops.

At its meeting, the National Council also discussed the controversy over the recent cancellation of the Lenten solidarity visit to Canada of Jesuit priest, Fr. Luis Arriaga, Executive Director of the Centre PRODH, a partner of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE involved in human rights work in Mexico. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE funding support to the Centre PRODH was recently cancelled as a result of the controversy surrounding Father Arriaga’s visit. The members of the National Council asked that this issue be reviewed with the CCCB for follow-up at the next National Council meeting scheduled for November 2011.

National Council President Ronald Breau believes that this controversy has not only been felt by DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE and its members, but has also had impacts on the whole of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s partner network in the Global South. "We need to remember that it is the people of the South who are the first actors of true development, and it is their voices that must continue to guide our actions. We are committed to working with them to develop partnership protocols that affirm Catholic social teaching (including common good and subsidiarity) and that respect the principles of sustainable and integral human development, as exemplified by Caritas in Veritate."

He also thanked all the individuals, groups and communities who have expressed their concerns and offered moral support over the last few weeks. "We want to reassure them. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continues to be the voice of social justice in Canada and will carry on its support and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the Global South struggling against injustice and human suffering in the world."

Friday, 10 June 2011

National Council Members: Good Luck this Weekend

Dear Members of the National Council

I wish all of you good luck over the next three days of meetings. I believe that this meeting will be one of the most crucial for the organization in the history of Development and Peace. I am sure all of you will have received input from members over the past few weeks on the current situation regarding our practice and policy involving partners. I think that you will have to ask difficult questions on who in the future will be making decisions on who we support.

In the past few weeks, it has become clear that your authority has been challenged. Very strong opinions have been expressed over the decision-making process when it comes to who should be considered an appropriate partner. To my mind however, National Council has been removed from this process. I have heard very strongly worded statements by Archbishop Prendergast about the danger of working with 'evil' in the world. These comments have been directed at our partners. We have also witnessed the breakdown of the partner approval process. A Mexican cardinal has in fact determined policy for us by stating an opinion not based on any discernible fact.

National Council members, the process must be respected. We have a wonderful staff of trained professionals who make decisions on partners and projects on a regular basis. We have a very committed group of volunteers who sit on the International Development Committees who give up their time on a regular basis to overview the work of our professional staff.

Over the years, we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this process. We have held conferences where experts from around the world have come to Montreal to speak to us on how to do a better job of serving the poor and empowering people. We have spent hundreds of hours debating and discerning policy at the National level. We are respected throughout the world for having a member-based organization that is highly effective at delivering development assistance to very credible partners.

A very wise person once told me that working for social justice is very dangerous work. While we are very fortunate not to experience the physical danger that many of our partners experience, there is another type of danger that we must all be aware of. The danger that presents itself here is the reactionary opinion of powerful voices that seek to limit and control the good work that we do. We are in a dangerous situation right now where powerful forces are seeking to control the work that you do.

My prayer for you this weekend is that you will all have the courage of your convictions and you will defend the proud, independent tradition of the National Council and that you will resist the forces that seek to limit your ability to do justice in the world.

In solidarity

Paul McGuire

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Letter of a Toronto Member

Dear Michael:

            In 1995, while I was a member of Development and Peace’s National Council, and while I was a member of Latin America II, a Development and Peace project review committee responsible for reviewing projects submitted to Development and Peace by our partners in Brazil (among certain other South American countries), I participated in meetings in Rio de Janeiro with representatives of 25 of our Brazilian partner organizations. I also participated in three days of meetings with representatives of Global North development agencies similar to ours. I was accompanied by xxxx and xxxx at all of the said meetings.

            On the Saturday evening of the second set of meetings to which I have referred, I participated in a meeting with some of those who were present at the three days of meeting which took place that weekend. xxx and xxx were with me. The meeting took place entirely in Portuguese, without any simultaneous translation of any sort. It became obvious to me during the meeting that one of the items of discussion was quite contentious.  During the discussion, the chair of the meeting turned to me (I assume that I had been introduced by my colleagues as a member of Development and Peace’s National Council – I don’t remember whether I was yet Vice President of National Council). The following conversation ensued.

“Do you know what we are talking about?”

“No, I don’t, because I don’t speak Portuguese. But that’s alright.  Continue with the discussion. My colleagues will summarize the discussion for me after the meeting.”

“I’ll tell you right now what we’re discussing. All of us have been asked by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil that henceforth, we will support only those projects that have been approved by them. Do you agree with this?”

Being altogether and immediately stunned by the enormity of what I had just been asked, I replied, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not!”

“Once would have been enough.” (I could tell that my questioner was displeased, needless to say.)

I report, Michael, that after the meeting was concluded, and when xxx, xxxx and I were in a place where we could discuss the goings-on at the aforesaid meeting just concluded, xxx said with some laughter, “I wondered what you were going to say when the question was put to you, Keith. Happily, you gave the right answer!”

In light of more recent events, I now wonder with a great deal of sadness whether my answer in 1995 – it is an answer I would give yet again this very day in 2011 - would be greeted with the same response even by my own colleagues.

Michael, I have been a Development and Peace member for thirty years. During that time, I have likely contributed tens upon thousands of volunteer hours in the furtherance of the work of Development and Peace. I have served in very nearly every capacity that comes to my mind. I have been a diocesan council chair. I have been a National Council member. I have served on numerous subcommittees. I have even served as a temporary part-time Development and Peace animator, and for a short while even managed Development and Peace’s Toronto office. On occasion, I have been called a Development and Peace ‘elder,’ reminiscent of the use of that term by First Nations people. I am not at all sure that the term should apply to me. I am a Share Year Round donor. When I die, part of what I leave behind will be contributed to Development and Peace.

I cannot begin to tell you adequately enough how deeply troubled I am by the recent direction made in the name of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) that Development and Peace will consult with local Global South bishops in order to obtain their approval with regard to development programs we may otherwise be interested to pursue in this or that local bishop’s diocese. I am even more troubled that we may have acquiesced to this demand and that our international development program department staff members are to govern themselves accordingly.

Michael, I ask you in all earnestness to use your good office to ensure that we have a fruitful dialogue with our bishops on the issue at hand. I note that dialogue is a two-way process. I also ask you in all earnestness to continue to respect, as I am sure that you do, that Development and Peace’s National Council must be consulted whenever any such direction is made as has been made in the name of the CCCB in relation to the issue at hand. I cannot help but think that the confidence of Development and Peace members in the movement to which they are so deeply committed will otherwise be eroded.

Please keep me advised as the issue at hand goes forward.

Keith Gauntlett

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

42 scientifiques créent un collectif de recherche sur la coopération internationale en soutien à Développement et Paix

42 scientifiques expriment leur désaccord avec la nouvelle politique de coopération de D&P avec ses partenaires du Sud qui émerge dans l’organisation. Conséquemment, disent-ils «nous exprimons notre volonté d’ouvrir un espace de travail plus large qui permettra à tous, chercheurs, dirigeants, professionnels, et animateurs de la solidarité internationale, de mieux cerner l’évolution en cours permettant ainsi de faire de meilleurs choix politiques et sociaux».

On notera parmi les 42 signataires Gregory Baum, théologien et sociologue de l’U.McGill, auteur d’un ouvrage majeur Étonnante Église, l’émergence d’un catholicisme solidaire (Bellarmin, 2006) ; Pierre Beaucage, anthropologue de l’U.de Montréal; Pierre Beaudet, directeur adjoint de l’École de mondialisation et de développement international (U.d’Ottawa); Richard Marcoux de l’U.Laval;  Bonnie Campbell et Nancy Thède de l’UQAM; Madeleine Gauthier de l’INRS Urbanisation, Culture et Société et Chairman Lévy, présidente de l’Association canadienne des études en développement international.
Crise à Développement et Paix

42 scientifiques créent un collectif de recherche sur la coopération internationale en soutien à Développement et Paix  
La nouvelle mais très conservatrice politique de coopération avec le Sud qui prend forme à Développement et Paix est inacceptable

Montréal, 1er juin 2011.
En matière de coopération internationale, aujourd’hui plus qu’hier, l’intervention qui s’inscrit dans une dynamique de développement des communautés au Sud, de plaidoyer et de soutien à des mouvements sociaux est de nature pluraliste. Elle est une intervention avec des partenaires de sensibilités sociales, politiques ou religieuses diverses dans l’objectif partagé de promouvoir la démocratie et la justice économique et sociale. Or ce travail et ces acquis, à Développement et Paix comme dans d’autres organisations de coopération internationale (OCI), sont gravement compromis par la montée au Canada d’un fort courant conservateur tant au plan politique que religieux.

En conséquence de quoi, nous avons jugé nécessaire d’unir nos efforts en vue de constituer un collectif de scientifiques de différents champs disciplinaires (sciences sociales, sciences économiques, sciences religieuses) travaillant sur diverses questions internationales dont celle de la coopération internationale. Nous sommes tous et toutes actifs en recherche et en formation sur ces questions dans nos universités de même qu’en tant qu’experts consultés par des institutions internationales, des mouvements ou des organisations de coopération internationale (OCI).
Habituellement réservés dans nos positions politiques, il nous est apparu nécessaire de joindre notre voix collective au débat en cours à Développement et Paix et d’exprimer clairement notre appui à ceux et celles qui, au sein de cette organisation, expriment leur désaccord avec la nouvelle politique qui émerge en son sein à savoir : a) la remise en question du travail dans la réciprocité de Développement et Paix avec ses 200 partenaires dans 30 pays du Sud, remise en question qui annonce dans l’avenir une prescription de requérir l’avis des évêques locaux ; b) la remise en question du caractère de mouvement démocratique de l’organisme au bénéfice d’une structure d’intervention et de contrôle direct de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada (CECC) ; c) le choix de la haute direction de l’organisation de maintenir secret le débat en cours comme si Développement et Paix était un groupe privé et non une association présente dans l’espace public et bénéficiant de financements multiples provenant de la population québécoise et canadienne; d) le refus de soutenir plus avant des partenaires qui ne partagent pas la «morale catholique». La première organisation en liste qui en a été victime est le Centre de promotion des droits humains du Mexique dirigé par le jésuite L. Arriaga, organisation partenaire de longue date de Développement et Paix. Voir à ce propos le site http://soutenonsdetp.wordpress.com/.

Le regard critique que nous portons sur le projet de transformation de Développement et Paix participe de cette montée en puissance de la droite religieuse et/ou politique au Canada qui a coupé les vivres à de nombreuses associations (groupes de femmes, organisations de coopération internationale comme Kaïros, Droits et Démocratie, Alternatives…). Ce projet conservateur de transformation participe également de la montée en puissance d’un courant de droite dans l’Église catholique lequel participe lui-même de la montée générale des fondamentalismes chrétiens dans le monde.

Trois lignes de force se dégagent de notre position dans ce débat et dans cette crise qui traverse plusieurs organisations de culture chrétienne et progressiste et au premier chef Développement et Paix mais aussi Caritas international et d’autres: 1) un minimum de transparence de Développement et Paix et des autres organisations s’impose pour que les citoyens canadiens soucieux de justice sociale dans les pays du Sud puissent influencer le débat qui a cours présentement dans ces organisations lesquelles sont en bonne partie soutenues et financées par ces citoyens; 2) il nous importe que des travaux de recherche scrutent plus avant ces questions afin de mieux cerner cette planète religieuse qui s’est mondialisée en transformant de plus en plus l’univers de la coopération internationale ; 3) nous exprimons notre volonté d’ouvrir un espace de travail plus large qui permettra à tous, chercheurs, dirigeants, professionnels, animateurs de la solidarité internationale, de mieux cerner l’évolution en cours permettant ainsi de faire de meilleurs choix politiques et sociaux.

Pour toute information, communiquer avec Patrick Morin, CRDC, Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) : crdc@uqo.ca

Les 42 signataires sont :

1-Yao Assogba, sociologue, professeur au Département de travail social, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
2. Gregory Baum, théologien, professeur émérite, Faculté Études religieuses, Université McGill.
3. Pierre Beaucage, professeur titulaire, Département d'anthropologie, Université de Montréal.
4. Pierre Beaudet, Directeur-adjoint de l’École de mondialisation et de développement international,
Université d’Ottawa.
5. Louise Bouchard, professeure de sociologie, Institut de recherche sur la santé des populations,
Université d'Ottawa.
6. Jacques L. Boucher, professeur titulaire, Département de travail social et membre du Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
7. Denis Bourque, titulaire, Chaire  de recherche du Canada en organisation communautaire, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
8. Jacques Caillouette, Département de service social, Université de Sherbrooke.9. Bonnie Campbell, titulaire, Chaire C.-A. Poissant sur la gouvernance et l’aide au développement Directrice, Groupe de recherche sur les activités minières en Afrique, UQAM.
10. Omer Chouinard, professeur, sociologie et études de l'environnement, membre de Gestion des écosystèmes basée sur les communautés au Burkina Faso, Université de Moncton.
11. Yvan Comeau, professeur titulaire, École de service social, Université Laval.
12. Henri Dorvil, professeur chercheur en travail social et sociologie de la santé, École de travail social, UQAM.
13. Louis Favreau, sociologue, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche en développement des communautés, Université du Québec en Outaouais
14. Dominic Foisy,  professeur au Département de travail social, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
15. Lucie Fréchette, directrice sortante, Centre d’étude et de recherche en intervention sociale et ARUC-ISDC Université du Québec en Outaouais.
 16. Winnie Frohn, professeure, Département d'études urbaines et touristiques, École des Sciences de la Gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal.
17. Madeleine Gauthier, sociologue, professeure honoraire, Observatoire Jeunes et Société
INRS Urbanisation, Culture et Société.
18. Lionel-H. Groulx, professeur associé, École de service social, Université de Montréal.
19. Christian Jetté, professeur, École de service social, LAREPPS, Université de Montréal.
20. René Lachapelle, théologien et doctorant en service social, Université Laval.
21. Gérald Larose, professeur, École de travail social, membre du LAREPPS, UQAM.
22. Jean-Frédéric Lemay, docteur en anthropologie, chercheur en évaluation de programmes internationaux, JFL Consultants.
23. Chairman Lévy, professeure en sciences sociales, Université du Québec en Outaouais et présidente de l'Association canadienne des études en développement international.
24. Ndiaga Loum, professeur, Communication, droit et science politique, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
25. Nuah M. Makungu , enseignant en sociologie du développement et de la coopération, membre du
Laboratoire d'études africaines, Université d'Ottawa.
26. Richard Marcoux, Directeur de l'Observatoire démographique et statistique de l'espace francophone (ODSEF), Université Laval.
27. Réjean Mathieu, professeur associé, École de travail social, Université du Québec à Montréal.
28.Nathalie McSween, doctorante, sciences sociales appliquées, membre ARUC-ISDC,9UQO.
29. Clément Mercier, professeur associé, Département de service social, Université de Sherbrooke.
30. Franklin Midy, professeur associé, Département de sociologie et directeur de l’Institut de coopération interuniversitaire avec Haïti,  UQÀM.
31. Ernesto Molina, sociologue, chargé de cours, Université de Sherbrooke, professionnel ARUC Développement territorial et coopération.
32. Olga Navarro-Flores, Professeure, Département Management et Technologie, ESG, UQAM
33. Martin Robitaille, professeur en sciences sociales, directeur de l’ARUC-ISDC, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
34. Marie-Andrée Roy, professeure au Département de sciences des religions, UQAM
35. Jean-François Simard, sociologue, titulaire de la Chaire Senghor de la francophonie, Université du Québec en Outaouais.
36. Moustapha Soumahoro, professeur adjoint, Département de géographie, Université Laurentienne.
37. Sid Ahmed Soussi, professeur, sociologie, Université du Québec à Montréal et membre de l’ARUC-ISDC.
38. Nancy Thede, titulaire, Chaire Nycole Turmel sur les espaces publics et les innovations politiques,
Université du Québec à Montréal.
39. Luc Theriault, professeur de sociologie,  UNB-Fredericton.
40. Sylvie Thibault, directrice du Département de travail social, Université du Québec en Outaouais,
41. Yves Vaillancourt, politologue, LAREPPS, École de travail social, UQAM.
42. Florent Villeneuve, théologien, professeur retraité, sciences religieuses, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

28 avril 2011
Monsieur Michael Casey
Directeur général de Développement et Paix
Monsieur Pat Hogan
Président sortant de Développement et Paix
Monsieur Ronald Breau
Président de Développement et Paix

Chers amis,

A titre de membre collectif de soutien de D&P, le Fonds Solidarité Sud est très inquiet. L’articlede J-C Leclerc dans le journal Le Devoir nous a mis la puce à l’oreille. D&P est en train de laisser les éléments conservateurs de l’Église catholique au Canada influencer grandement son travail dans une direction qui l’éloigne de sa mission. Plus spécifiquement c’est dans une partie de l’épiscopat canadien que se retrouve une sympathie pour un courant de plus en plus explicitement conservateur dont les positions sont fortement influencées par les néoprotestants américains (les «born again christians»). De fait la jonction entre Développement/nouvelle évangélisation/identité religieuse affichée qui commande le travail de ces activistes est une très mauvaise idée si elle s’enracine dans le catholicisme canadien, surtout à Développement et Paix. La crise actuelle de D&P qui a tendance à traîner en longueur est profondément démobilisatrice. Il faut donc insister à nouveau sur le fait que les 43 ans de travail de D&P ont été d’une grande qualité et d’un grand apport pour les communautés du Sud. Nous savons fort bien qu’une partie de l’épiscopat canadien cède aux sirènes de la droite mais nous n’acceptons pas que la direction actuelle de D&P cède à ces lobbys conservateurs. D’autant plus que le Conseil national ne semble pas avoir été engagé dans des délibérations liées à ce tournant qui se prend lentement mais sûrement avec des partenaires du Mexique, de la Bolivie et bientôt d’ailleurs.

DÉVELOPPEMENT ET PAIX s’est toujours défini comme un mouvement démocratique de solidarité internationale qui soutient des partenaires dans les pays du Sud et mène des opérations d’éducation au Québec et au Canada en la matière. D&P a pu miser jusqu’à maintenant sur l’appui de milliers de membres au Canada (12,000 environ) et sur des dizaines de milliers de donateurs qui soutiennent les projets de quelques 200 partenaires engagés dans le développement et la démocratie au sein de mouvements sociaux d’une trentaine de pays.

Le Fonds Solidarité Sud s’est constitué en 2007 pour appuyer ce travail qui repose sur 43 ans de travail guidé par la justice sociale et inspirée du Concile Vatican II dont la meilleure expression sur le terrain de la solidarité Nord-Sud a été l’encyclique sur le développement des peuples Populorum Progressio. "Le passé est garant de l’avenir" dit l’adage. Voilà sur quoi reposait jusqu’à maintenant le soutien du Fonds Solidarité Sud à D&P. Mais "les acquis sont aussi mortels"  : nous entendons maintenir un appui éclairé en fonction des choix que fera D&P.

Dans cette perspective, tout comme d’autres l’ont fait récemment, nous vous demandons instamment de vous appuyer sur les membres les plus actifs et sur cette partie de la population qui est attachée à ces valeurs de justice sociale, de démocratie et de développement en toute indépendance de considérations religieuses, morales ou politiques partisanes. Ne laissons pas le conservatisme religieux et politique qui mine notre société continuer son offensive en concédant de plus en plus sur des questions de fond.

Les membres de la direction du comité d’animation/promotion Fonds Solidarité Sud
Louis Favreau et Lucie Fréchette, professeurs à l’Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
Sylvie Brassard et Louis Pilote, professeurs retraités du Cegep de Jonquière, Saguenay
René Lachapelle, organisateur communautaire et Louise Beauchesne, infirmière, Montérégie
Réjean Matthieu, professeur retraité de l’UQAM, Montréal
Gabriel Gaudet, avocat, Granby
Ernesto Molina, enseignant Université de Sherbrooke, Estrie

Le Groupe d’économie solidaire du Québec (GESQ)

Le Groupe d’économie solidaire du Québec (GESQ)
soutient Développement et Paix

Longueuil, le 2 juin 2011 : le Conseil d’administration du Groupe d’économie solidaire du Québec (GESQ) a adopté à l’unanimité une résolution d'appui à l'organisme de coopération internationale Développement et Paix.

Développement et Paix est sous pression
D&P est présentement sous pression depuis deux ans par diverses allégations non fondées mais diffusées largement sur différents sites par des groupes religieux de droite. Depuis deux ans, Développement et Paix est la cible du site Lifesitenews de Toronto. Ces groupes allèguent que de nombreux partenaires de Développement et Paix dans les pays du Sud ont une approche pro-choix, ce qui rend à leurs yeux incompatible toute collaboration avec ces derniers pour motif de non respect de la morale catholique. Conséquemment, les 200 partenaires actuels de D&P (dans 30 pays du Sud) devront, nouvelle règle du jeu, obtenir l’approbation de l'évêque local pour être reconnus dignes de l'appui financier de Développement et Paix en vertu d’une décision prise par la haute direction de l’organisme sous la pression de certains évêques et sans l’avis de ses membres.

Pour le GESQ, cette nouvelle politique qui émerge au sein de D&P est une remise en question profonde du travail accompli par cette organisation depuis près de 45 ans (1967), explique le secrétaire du GESQ, André Beaudouin, au nom du conseil d’administration. Le GESQ connaît très bien D&P parce dans son travail avec des groupes de promotion de l’économie solidaire, notamment en Afrique et en Amérique latine, depuis plus de 10 ans, notamment la tenue de trois rencontres internationales dont l’une à Lima au Pérou, l’autre au Québec et une 3e à Dakar au Sénégal, il a pu bénéficier d’une collaboration sans faille de D&P. Et cela dans des activités qui nécessitaient un partenariat où personne n’impose à personne sa morale, sa culture, sa confession religieuse. Parce que la coopération internationale exige aujourd’hui encore plus qu’hier d’aménager des espaces de dialogue interculturel dont un des principes fondamentaux est le pluralisme. C’est la condition première de l’efficacité d’une coopération Nord-Sud dont un des défis et non le moindre est la réciprocité.

Un comité de soutien

Par la résolution adoptée, le GESQ considère tout à fait pertinente et justifiée de créer un comité de soutien à Développement et Paix et salue l’initiative de démarrer un site et une pétition à cet effet http://soutenonsdetp.wordpress.com/. Le GESQ entend déployer, dans la mesure de ses moyens, tout ce qu’il pourra faire pour appuyer ce comité.

Le GESQ construit depuis plus de 10 ans un espace de solidarité internationale en économie solidaire. Pour en savoir plus : http://www4.uqo.ca/ries2001/gesq/index.html

Pour nous contacter : Réjean Mathieu, responsable à la mobilisation : mathieu.rejean@yahoo.ca