Economic Justice Committee invests in Bank of Palestine

first_img Rector Hopkinsville, KY Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis March 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm I fear this “positive investment” will largely become a symbolic gesture that isn’t likely to benefit the Palestinians in the spirit with which it was given. Were the Palestinian government a fledgling entity recognized by the world community as well as the government of Israel, this kind of investment would do wonders. Sadly the reality of occupation and colonization severely limits what this kind of ‘investment’ can truly accomplish. What good is a bank when the Palestinians are running out of land? How does this help them regain their property? March 22, 2013 at 9:21 am While it is good to see The Episcopal Church acting on Church policy on Palestine/Israel, I fear that the investment won’t mean much down the road. The Palestinian economy is shackled by the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – held to be a future State of Palestine. No amount of investment is going to help the economy until and unless the Occupation ends. That’s the lens through which I view actions taken: How does this help to end the Occupation? This investment does not meet that criterion. Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT March 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm This donation to a Palestinian bank is a valuable symbolic action. It manifests compassion for the suffering of the Palestinian people.The donation would also have positive, practical effect if the economic context into which these funds have been introduced were marked by freedom of movement for exchange of goods. This basic necessity for economic progress (or even for minimal economic activity) is not available for entrepreneurs and planners in the Occupied Territories — the West Bank and Gaza.We need to hear the voices of Palestinian entrepreneurs as they explain the facts governing their economic life — the many unpredictable and arbitrary restrictions which, via Israel’s well established policies, continually stifle attempts of Palestinian businesspersons to carry on manufacture and trade.A sample of these voices is available through a video at the following webpage: Ramy Abdeljabbar’s Palestine and World News ~ http://ramyabdeljabbar.wordpress.com/2013 /03/25/embroidery-makers-of-gaza-2/; or at Common Dreams News Centeer ~ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/24-5.Here Kokab Al-Qudssi, a businesswoman in Gaza, identifies her problem not as limited funds but as artificial restrictions forcibly imposed by an Israeli government — restrictions that block her from importing to her workshop tools and raw materials for sewing and embroidering the blouses, caps, scarves and bags that she attempts – unsuccessfully under Israel’s restrictions – to export to the West Bank or beyond.According to Sari Bashi, Executive Director of the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli humanitarian center in Tel Aviv: “The problem in Gaza is not a shortage of food but rather a violation of the right to productive, dignified work,”In 2011, according to the Palestinian Federation of Industries, 83 percent of Gaza factories were closed or working at a capacity of 50% or less. Although the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access premits 400 trucks per day to carry goods from Palestine factories and workshops, only two trucks per day were allowed to leave during the winter farming season of 2011. Between May 12 and June 30, Gisha reported, “not a single truck [was] allowed to leave Gaza.”(The Jerusalem Post, 30 June 2011 ~ http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Don t-bring-food-into-Gaza-take-it-out.)Can our donated funds really ease these restrictions, which originate in official chambers of the State of Israel and in its military bases?Economic activities in the West Bank and Gaza occur only under Israeli military rule. Decisions regarding import and export activities are made from the headquarters of an Israel Defense Force officer — the “Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories” (i.e., the Occupied Territories) (acronym: COGAT). This “Government Activity” consists of regulating the lives of Palestinians in various ways. Along with all other phases of life, economic activity is subject to the changeable will of IDF officers headquartered throughout the territory.(“Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories,” https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Coordinator_of_Government_Activities_in_the_Territories.)Stretching across the West Bank, COGAT has bases in the cities of Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilyah, Ramallah, Jerusalem Periphery, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jericho. Aside from these outposts, COGAT has its distinct Economics Branch, headed by a Lieutenant-Colonel.The Israeli military is in charge of all types of security for 82% of the West Bank (i.e., Areas B and C, where 45% of West-Bank Palestinians lilve). The Palestinian National Authority has charge of 18% (Area A, containing 55% of all West-Bank Palestinians).In the Gaza Strip, although Israel is said to have “withdrawn” from this area, economic and other activities of Palestinians are controlled by an Israeli military entity called Coordination and Liaison Administration of the Gaza Strip (COLA), headed by an IDF Colonel. (“West Bank” ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Bank#cite_note-UNGeneva_Convention-13.)Major General Eitan Dangot, the COGAT officier, said that Israel controls commodities proposed by the Palestinian National Authority for entrance into Gaza based on “security considerations.” Rocket-fire into Israel, General Dangot noted, has continued: “What we are dealing with in Gaza is a terrorist regime,” he said. (Jerusalem Post, “Don’t bring food into Gaza – take it out,’” http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Dont-bring-food-into-Gaza-take-it-out)Import and export restrictions cannot, of course, be an effective response to Hamas’ illegal attacks on Israeli villas in Sderot. Kokab Al-Qudssi’s embroidered blouses, caps, scarves and bags — along with goods from other entrepreneurs still awaiting export from Gaza – will not diminish the frequency of Hamas’ rocket fire. Restrictions on Gazan businesspersons, who have not fired any rockets, constitute collective punishment. Under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, collective punishment is a war crime.More detailed information for understanding the economic plight of the Palestinian people can be found in a report from PALTRADE (Palestine Trade Center) entitled “Investment in Palestine: The Reality” (October 2010). Authors of this document find that the major hindrance to economic development in Palestine cannot be lifted by foreign investment: “The uncertainty and lack of a political horizon created by the Israeli closure regime are hindering the potential of any future investments. The combined effect of the closure regime in the West Bank, the restrictions on the access and movement of investors, and the constricted trade between West Bank and Gaza have resulted in substantial increase in transaction costs, lowered the competitiveness of Palestinian products, and created a very poor investment climate in Palestine”If the Episcopal Church seeks to support and enhance the Palestinian economy — actually to aid Palestinian entrepreneurs in the manufacture and distribution of their goods and services — then decisions must be based on a clear understanding of the economic context in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Director of Music Morristown, NJ Peter Cabbiness says: The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Amy Kruse says: Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Addison Bross says: Featured Jobs & Calls Rector Knoxville, TN Comments are closed. Rector Albany, NY Submit a Press Release Tags Posted Mar 21, 2013 An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Smithfield, NC Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Donna Hicks says: Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Rector Shreveport, LA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Submit a Job Listing Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Featured Events March 22, 2013 at 10:37 am The decision to invest 500k in the Bank of Palestine is an important symbolic expression of our support for the Palestinian people and their struggle to end an occupation that strangles their economy. Unless we accompany that, however, with a demand that our government hold Israel accountable for human rights violations and its continuing takeover of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, it will mean little. We would do well to remember words just spoken by President Obama to Israeli young people: “As a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.”Take special note of that word, “demand”. That’s from our President.Cotton Fite TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Martinsville, VA Youth Minister Lorton, VA Press Release Service Cotton Fite says: Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 March 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm Why not just write a check to the Taliban, Al Queda, or any other anti-amercican, anti-christian group? The result is the same. This act is shameful and ill informed. Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Israel-Palestine, An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector Tampa, FL Economic Justice Committee invests in Bank of Palestine Middle East Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Rector Pittsburgh, PA Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector Collierville, TN Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Comments (5) Rector Washington, DC Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS [Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] As approved by the Episcopal Church Economic Justice Loan Committee (EJLC) of the Executive Council and as part of its economic justice portfolio, The Episcopal Church recently purchased a three-year certificate of deposit for $500,000 in the Bank of Palestine.This action, approved in late January by EJLC, is in response to several resolutions affirmed by the General Convention, most recently Resolution B019 approved by General Convention in July 2012.Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said, “I am delighted that The Episcopal Church has now made a positive investment in the Palestinian economy, an action which we have encouraged for some time.  This is tangible evidence of our commitment to a healthy economy in the Palestinian territories as a necessary instrument to building a lasting peace.”The investment is part of the assets which were set aside by Executive Council in November 1989 for socially-responsible fixed-income investments. At year-end 2012, the investments consisted of $3.6 million in deposits at credit unions and similar intermediaries; and $2.1 million in loans to community development intermediaries made through the Economic Justice Community Development Loan Fund.“Interest earned from these investments is typically below market rates, though an effort is made to achieve rates above the inflation rate in order to safeguard the principal available for future loans,” explained N. Kurt Barnes, Episcopal Church treasurer. “The interest earned in this program flows to the DFMS operating budget.”In preparation for the purchase, the Episcopal Church Finance Office worked with several organizations, including the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, to identify business opportunities in Palestine. The EJLC concluded that an investment in the Bank of Palestine  made the most sense.  Barnes continued, “The primary mid-size to large businesses in Palestine are banking services, IT and Call Centers, hospitality and tourism.  The banking sector offers liquidity; and as the leading bank in Palestine, the Bank of Palestine is a logical candidate, which in turn will get the money out to community development activities within Palestine.”Barnes, who met with senior management of the Bank of Palestine, noted that the bank:• Has well-developed corporate-governance and risk-management structures based on best practices generally seen in North America;• Makes nearly 20% of its $720 million loan portfolio available to micro and small businesses (SMEs) employing over 10,000 Palestinians;• Has a green loans program, which encourages water wells, wastewater management and alternative energy sources in order to reduce reliance on often unstable Israeli-sourced energy; and• Contributes 5% of its net profit each year to Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer, commented, “One of the ways we seek to serve at the churchwide level is to make it easy for the Church at the local level, dioceses and congregations, to act on our common convictions. Several dioceses have already approached us about helping them take similar action. Co-investing with us pools resources for good and allows smaller units of the Church to take advantage of the work done on their behalf and access services and opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them.  That’s what the churchwide level exists to do.”Lindsey Parker, of the Diocese of Massachusetts and chair of the EJLC, noted, “We are pleased to receive the Bank’s assurance that the deposit will be directed to SMEs; the Bank’s Green Loans Program; or the soon-to-be introduced SME loans for women.” Rector Belleville, IL Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Associate Rector Columbus, GA Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Curate Diocese of Nebraska Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Submit an Event Listing Rector Bath, NC last_img read more

Journalist missing for 100 days: RSF dumps 11,000 envelopes outside Burundian embassy in Paris

first_img BurundiAfrica Condemning abuses Disappearances In a protest staged by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an enormous pile of envelopes symbolizing the 11,000 signatures on an RSF petition for an investigation into Burundian journalist Jean Bigirimana’s disappearance was deposited outside the Burundian embassy in Paris at this morning. Organisation Burundian appeal court upholds prison sentences for four journalists Four Burundian journalists complete 12 months in arbitrary detention Reports The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa BurundiAfrica Condemning abuses Disappearances October 21, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information June 5, 2020 Find out more News November 27, 2020 Find out more to go further RSF_en A garbage truck dumped the 11,000 envelopes in the street outside the embassy at 10 a.m. as activists chanted: “Where is Jean Bigirimana?” After hesitating, an embassy representative came out and took the 250 pages of signatures collected by RSF. “We call on Burundi to open an official investigation to determine exactly what happened to Jean Bigirimana,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “Is he being held by the intelligence services? Was he killed? Not knowing has become a living hell for his family and colleagues. “Burundi withdrew from the International Criminal Court in mid-October and has said UN investigators are not welcome in the country. If the government disputes the international community’s legitimacy on justice and human rights issues, why doesn’t it investigate Bigirimana’s disappearance itself? “There is no disputing the fact that Bigirimana disappeared and that the bodies of two people who had died violently were found near the last place he was seen. So why this deafening silence? If the government has nothing to hide, why doesn’t it do everything possible to find out who is responsible for his disappearance?” After getting a phone call from a source, Bigirimana went to meet the source in Muramvya, a small town 50 km east of Bujumbura, on 22 July. Witnesses reported seeing him there with members of the National Intelligence Service (SNR). It was the last time he was seen. The authorities initially said they were holding Bigirimana but then retracted and thereafter said nothing. In response to their silence, Bigirimana’s colleagues at Iwacu began looking for him. A few days later, members of the police and emergency services joined the search. At the start of August, two bodies were found in a river downstream from Muramvya but their condition was such that identification was difficult. One of the bodies was headless. Bigirimana’s wife thought that neither of them was her husband but could not be sure. Nonetheless, no autopsies or DNA analyses were carried out. For about three weeks, Bigirimana’s wife received calls from people identifying themselves as judges or SNR intermediaries who told her not to worry and to be patient. Was this just cruelty or was he still alive? One hundred days later there is still no answer to the question of what happened to this journalist. Tension is mounting steadily in Burundi as a result of a political crisis that began in the spring of 2015, and a UN report published last month spoke of a risk of genocide. Meanwhile, almost no independent media outlets are now operating inside the country. The clampdown began when Radio Publique Africaine, a very popular privately-owned radio station, was suspended in April 2015. All other privately-owned radio stations were closed down the following month on the official grounds that they had to be investigated. The investigation was never concluded and may never have started. Since then, only two radio stations have been allowed to reopen – in March of this year. One is Radio Rema, a government mouthpiece. The other is Radio Isanganiro, whose manager Anne Niyuhire was fired for allowing a tame version of the station to resume operating. She had fled abroad in 2015 was still there when dismissed. Although Radio Isanganiro’s managers and editors have taken many precautions, they have repeatedly been summoned to the president’s office for questioning about their reports. The news editor was fired earlier this month. The journalists still working in Burundi are constantly subjected to threats and intimidation and there is no sign of any let-up in the harassment. In one recent case, a policeman beat up Infos Grands Lacs reporter Nestor Ndayitwayeko in a bar just because he was a journalist. Boaz Ntaconayigize, a Bonesha FM journalist living in exile in Kampala, was stabbed on 1 August by persons he identified as Burundian intelligence agents. Buja FM journalist Gisa Steve Ira-Koze was arrested in a bar in Gatumba, 10 km west of Bujumbura, on 18 August and was held for several days. Voice of America journalist Fidélité Ishatse was arrested during a reporting visit to the southeastern town of Rutana on 7 October and was held for several hours on the grounds that she had not shown her accreditation to the local authorities on arrival, although she often does reporting in the region. These examples are all indicative of the extent to which freedom of information is almost non-existent now in Burundi, which fell 11 places in the past year in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked 156th out of 180 countries. This small central African country was often cited as a regional example of media freedom and pluralism until President Pierre Nkurunziza triggered the crisis in 2015 by deciding to hold on to power and run for a third term. For more cases of media freedom violations in Burundi, click here. News October 28, 2016 Journalist missing for 100 days: RSF dumps 11,000 envelopes outside Burundian embassy in Paris News Follow the news on Burundilast_img read more

Friday people roundup

first_imgTNO – The €2.5bn pension fund of technical research institute TNO has appointed Kostijn van Gerven as director. He replaces Joop Ruijgrok, who has now retired. Van Gerven, who started in his role on 1 October, has been director of finance and facilities at TNO since 2006, and has also been board member of the pension fund during this period.MN – The fiduciary manager has appointed Donny Hay as its head of clients for the UK. Hay will be responsible for existing clients and developing MN’s fiduciary management business in the UK market.LawDeb Pension Trustees – Gerry Degaute has joined the LawDeb pension trustee team this month. Until June, Degaute was chief executive at Royal Mail Pensions Trustees, where he led trustee support for, and was involved in all aspects of, the Royal Mail Group’s pension schemes.Schroders – Ugo Montrucchio has been appointed portfolio manager in Schroders’ multi-asset investment and portfolio solutions business. He will be based in London and take up the post in January 2014. He joins from BlackRock’s multi-asset group, where he was a director and a lead portfolio manager for its diversified growth and risk-parity strategies. Generali Investments Europe – The asset management company of Generali Group has appointed Wilfrid Pham as head of its equity department and Vivek Tawadey as head of credit research. Both will focus on supporting the company’s investment team and ensuring a strong alignment between analyst and portfolio managers.Lombard Odier Investment Managers – The firm has named Ruud Hendriks to the new post of senior adviser. He will report to Hubert Keller, the managing partner of Lombard Odier responsible for LOIM. Hendriks will work closely with LOIM’s sales leadership to strengthen its distribution capabilities to institutional clients in Europe and beyond.MacKay Shields – The investment management firm has recruited Matthew Nagele as managing director and head of distribution for the UK and EMEA. Nagele will be based in the firm’s recently opened London office. He will report to John Akkerman, executive managing director and global head of distribution.Barnett Waddingham – The firm’s compliance officer, Zoe Smith, has joined the committee for the Association of Member-directed Pension Schemes (AMPS). She joins AMPS in place of outgoing chairman and Barnett Waddingham partner Andrew Roberts, who has stepped down after six years as a member and two years as chairman.iShares – BlackRock’s ETF platform is expanding its EMEA fixed income sales team with the appointment of Jessica Eistrand and Deri Bainge, both joining as directors. While Eistrand will cover the Nordics and Benelux, Bainge will cover Germany, Switzerland and Austria. They will report to Leen Meijaard, head of iShares EMEA sales.Dalriada Trustees – The trustee firm has recruited Adrian Kennett as head of practice for its ongoing trusteeship business. The appointment will give Dalriada a presence in the South West of England with the opening of new offices in the city, alongside offices in London, Glasgow and Belfast.last_img read more