Dear Members and Friends,
Last month the team on the ground was able to assist 65 infants with supplementary feeding: 14 new babies were added to the 51 previously monitored.
The country remains in a state of war. The value of the Syrian currency continues to plummet, while the price of basic goods continues to rise, and impoverishment spreads and hardens inexorably.
However small, the help that the Vivere-Syria team provides to these families shows them that a small flame of human solidarity is not extinguished.
The mission on the spot that one of our team members wants to carry out has been postponed several times for more than a year because the approach through Lebanon is currently uncertain due to the unrest that persists there, blocking the roads, and the approach through Jordan is suspended due to closed borders. As soon as the first opportunity for access to Syria arises, we will go there to support the team and to see how we can work even more intensively there.
2° East of Democratic Republic of Congo
The extreme violence in the east of the DRC, which has received little press coverage in our country, has not calmed down since 1996, unfortunately quite the contrary. The loss of human life can be counted in the millions!
According to our analysis, the main destabilising factors hindering a lasting pacification of the Kivu region are:
– The porous nature of the borders, which allows foreign armed gangs to wreak havoc on Congolese soil.
– The impunity still enjoyed by so many leaders who have been involved in corruption and blood crimes
– The sale of arms to illegal bands and militias
– The covetousness of the region’s mineral resources, regularly plundered by lawless national and foreign forces.
– Fuelled by one or more of the above factors, the separatist tendencies of one faction or another, with exacerbated communitarianism.
– The relative effectiveness, often even derisory, of the presence of 17,000 blue helmets of MONUSCO, which is a failure of the United Nations in this region of the country.
Once or several times each week we receive alerts, reports of investigations or SOS calls following monstrous exactions committed against the Congolese civilian population living near the borders of Burundi, Rwanda or Uganda. These messages and testimonies are at your disposal if you wish to receive a copy, on simple request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Vivere works with 5 partners located in the heart of this battered region, as shown on this map. Given the persistence of violence over the past two decades and the courage and integrity of the teams working there, some partnerships have been operating for 17 years, with the most recent ones in 2018.
In Goma, North Kivu, we are lucky to collaborate with the association ‘Protection et Solidarités’, which brings together qualified lawyers and social workers. Rather than a long text to describe the current activities, we suggest you listen to the exchange with Me Evelyne and Madeleine recorded on site last October:
3° Campaign and multiple actions for the abolition of the death penalty and life imprisonment for minors
In Jacobabad, Sindh province, our 23rd awareness-raising session for judicial and probation officers was held on 12th November to ensure that they are aware of the legal tools that they can and should use to counter the extreme demands that children (at the time of their alleged offences) are likely to face in court. The session brought together representatives from the Social Welfare, Human Rights, Child Protection and Probation departments, as well as representatives from the Bar Association, local NGOs, university professors and journalists.
Our friends of Amnesty International France share this alert:
“With 246 executions in 2020, Iran is the second biggest executioner in the world. The age of the condemned does not seem to bother the authorities, since many minors are on the death row. This is the case of Hossein Shabhazi and Arman Abdolali. Sentencing a minor to death is an abhorrent violation of children’s rights. It is also PROHIBITED by international law. Hossein and Arman have similar stories. Both were sentenced to death for crimes they allegedly committed when they were only 17 years old. After a mock trial and “confessions” obtained under torture, they have spent several years on the death row, and their execution could come at any moment. Save them!”
In order to popularise the petition put online by Vivere to attract the support of as many people as possible, young Andrès, a student at the International School of Lausanne, has created a short 53-second video on his own initiative, which you can watch here:
4° Combating the punishment of those accused of blasphemy
Previous Newsletters informed about the decision of the Vivere committee to commit the movement to the protection of those who, in several countries around the world, risk their lives under this type of accusation from another age. In one of the countries concerned we have already been at work for several months, providing legal defence for several accused of blasphemy, both adults and minors.
The friendly radio programme ‘La ligne du cœur’ was kind enough to put us on air once again to summarise the ins and outs of this necessary and vital fight. We invite you to follow the programme:
In whatever form, supportive writings, accurate documentation, testimonies, visual archives, financial contributions, we ask and thank you for your assistance in this work. We have a list of thirty-nine other accused of blasphemy who are in prison and on trial, but who have no defence at present.
5° Christmas Market: reminder
Vivere will present itself to the public during the Solidarity Christmas Market.
16 and 17 December, from 5pm to 10pm
18 December, from 11am to 8pm
Avenue Jean-Jacques Mercier 3, 1003 Lausanne / Pôle Sud
Health measures: COVID certificate is compulsory.
Thanking you always for your attention to this work, and at your disposal for any information you may wish to receive.
With our best consideration,
The Vivere Committee