NEW WEBSITE: Solution for Syria

LEARN. STAY INFORMED. GET INVOLVED. (1)


We’ve launched a new website! –> solutionforsyria.org

Jubilee Campaign has launched a new website dedicated solely to our Syria efforts. As you may know, for the past few years we have been advocating for a solution to the Syrian crisis – a solution that comes from the people and is representative of the people.

So far, peace talks and other initiatives for a solution have left out many of Syria’s ethnic and religious minorities, only including the actors engaged in violence. However, many of Syria’s minorities have been instrumental in protecting vulnerable areas from ISIS, as well as maintaining peace in areas previously consumed by fighting. We find it puzzling that the actors who have remained peaceful are being left out of discussions regarding a solution.

We are advocating for a democratic, pluralistic solution for Syria. In northeast Syria, a group of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians, and Chechens of various religions have established the Self Administration Areas of North East Syria. This region is self-governed, and functions on a social contract “based upon mutual and peaceful coexistence and understanding between all strands of society.” As we advocate for a democratic, pluralistic solution for Syria, we look to the Self Administration Areas as a prime example of how this solution can be achieved.

Our new website will provide information on the solution we are proposing and advocating for, current news on Syria, as well as opportunities for you to be involved. Be on the lookout tomorrow for when the website goes live! We will be sending an email with the link, as well as posting it to our social media accounts.

As always, please remember to pray for the crisis to end in Syria. And please pray that our advocacy initiatives will be effective and well-received!

Tell Congress to Tighten North Korean Sanctions

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(Watch video here.)

You’ve heard of US student, Otto Warmbier’s, recent death after returning home from North Korea. This has once again shone a light on the horrors of North Korea and has left many asking “what more can the US do?” Though some feel we have tried everything only to receive disheartening results, the US Foreign Affairs Committee is convinced that we can do more. The committee released a statement debunking some common myths about US relations with North Korea. See the myths vs. facts below:

Myth: “North Korea is the most sanctioned country in the world.”

Fact: Serious pressure on North Korea has been applied unevenly, only to be lifted prematurely for promises that never materialized. And as the Wall Street Journal’s David Feith noted, North Korea may not even be in the top five most-sanctioned countries, with Iran, Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe and Belarus facing tougher sanctions. “That began to change only last year,” Feith continued, “…with the passage of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act pushed by Rep. Ed Royce.”

Myth: “We’ve tried to put pressure, through China, on North Korea in the past and it just hasn’t done anything.”

Fact: After implementation of sanctions in 2005 against China-based Banco Delta Asia – which was doing business with the North Korean government – the Kim regime saw its flows of hard currency greatly restricted, reducing its ability to fund its illicit weapons programs. But the sanctions were lifted prematurely for more empty promises from the regime. Third-party sanctions against international banks currently doing business with the regime would have the same effect now.

Myth: “The U.S. has limited options” to address North Korean threats.

Fact: There is plenty of room to ratchet up pressure on Kim Jong Un and North Korea’s ruling class. One of the best options the United States has is Chairman Ed Royce’s Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act [H.R. 1644], which passed the House last month by an overwhelming vote of 419-1. Specifically, the bill:

  • Expands sanctions to deter North Korea’s nuclear weapons program;
  • Targets those overseas who employ North Korean slave labor, a source of billions of dollars in annual revenue for the regime;
  • Cracks down on North Korean shipping and use of international ports; and
  • Requires the administration to determine whether North Korea is a state sponsor of terrorism.

It’s time for the Senate to act on Chairman Royce’s bill. Doing so will give the United States powerful new tools to address North Korean threats.

We ask you to contact your Senator today, and urge him/her to support the Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act.

Persecuted Christians: Victims of Torture

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(Image from Church in Chains)

Today marks the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The UN recognizes that torture is an evil practice in any form and constitutes a crime against humanity.

At Jubilee Campaign, we know that persecuted Christians are a targeted group for torture. Torture is often used by governments or others to punish Christians for their faith or as a means to try to force them to recant their faith.

A current victim of this type of persecution is Pastor Yang Hua. Yang was the pastor for a house church in Guizhou province. He has been detained since December 2015. He was arrested during a police raid of the church when he tried to stop the police from taking a hard drive. He was then charged with “divulging state secrets.”

During his time in detention he reported that his prosecutors tortured him, threatened to kill him, and threatened his family. Despite his allegations against them, these prosecutors were allowed to remain on the case.

On December 26, 2016, Pastor Yang was put on trial for the charges against him. Public members were banned from the premises and Yang’s wife was forcibly removed from the court, escorted home, and monitored by police. In January this year, his sentence of two years and six months in prison was announced.

The church has been banned and other church leaders fear arrest. Despite their many hardships, Pastor Yang and his wife have shown steadfast faith the Lord. We ask that today you pray for Pastor Yang and other victims of torture and persecution. Pray for their strength and comfort and that they may be a testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ.

World Refugee Day: Refugees in South East Asia

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(Image from British Pakistani Christian Association)

This Sunday marks another opportunity for churches to set aside time to show concern and support for refugees!

Jubilee Campaign has long supported refugees fleeing Pakistan.

In Pakistan, Christians are regularly discriminated against, harassed, and attacked for their faith. Blasphemy laws, which prohibit any utterance against Islam, are used maliciously against Christians. Christians accused of blasphemy can face hefty fines, life in prison, or even death.

In its 2016 Annual Report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that approximately 40 Pakistanis are currently serving life sentences or are sentenced to death under blasphemy charges.

In addition, churches and places of worship are often targeted and attacked, school curriculum discriminates against religious minorities, and Christians fear being attacked or killed for speaking about their faith or against blasphemy laws. This fear has led religious minorities, especially Christians, to seek refuge in other countries.

Jubilee Campaign works to both prevent Pakistani Christians from turning into refugees and assisting those who have already fled the country. Our first step is prevention. We tirelessly advocate for a more inclusive political and social environment for religious minorities in Pakistan. This includes advocating for the repeal of blasphemy laws in the country and encouraging efforts to combat extremism.

We also aid those who have already been forced to leave. Thousands of Pakistani Christians have to make a quick escape by obtaining a visitor’s visa to Thailand. Once there, they apply for asylum with the United Nations refugee office located in Bangkok. There are approximately 10,000 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers currently in Bangkok.

Due to a backlog in processing by the UN, these asylum seekers end up overstaying their visitor’s visas. Since Thailand is not signed on to international law protecting refugees, they are considered illegal. Thai authorities regularly round up these asylum seekers and throw them in jail or the Immigration Detention Center, where they live in cramped and dirty conditions.

A sad report came out just this month of a Christian Pakistani man who died in a detention center because he was denied medical treatment. This is not how refugees should be treated. We are continuously advocating for the better treatment of refugees in Bangkok.

Jubilee Campaign financially partners with an organization in Bangkok to provide food, housing, and education to Pakistani Christians in Thailand. If you would like to donate to support a family, please give here.

Otto Warmbier’s death a testimony to life in North Korea

Jubilee Campaign is a member of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea. We would like to share the below ICNK statement with you discussing Otto Warmbier’s tragic death due to his time in North Korea.
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(Seoul – June 23, 2017) — The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) expresses its profound sadness and concern over the death of US citizen Otto Warmbier.
 
“It makes Mr. Warmbier’s death no less tragic to observe that every North Korean must live every day with the awareness that the slightest departure from Pyongyang’s repressive laws and orders could result in arbitrary detention without trial, life-long imprisonment in a ‘gulag’ prison camp, torture, or execution,” said Eun Kyoung Kwon, Secretary-General of the ICNK.
 
While ICNK does not yet know the exact cause of Mr. Warmbier’s death, there is no doubt that North Korea bears responsibility for arbitrarily arresting him, sending him to trial in a court where basic fair trial principles and procedures were ignored, and then incarcerating him in a way that made it possible to suffer grievous injury. The fact that North Korea held Warmbier for more than a year while he was in a coma, depriving him of access to advanced medical treatment, was also an outrageous violation of his rights. The treatment that Warmbier received at the hands of North Korean authorities is consistent with the kinds of abuse experienced by thousands of North Koreans held for so-called political crimes.
 
Mr. Warmbier’s alleged ‘crime’ was taking down a propaganda banner from a staff-only area of his hotel during his tour group’s visit to North Korea. For that perceived insult to the government and the ruling Workers Party of Korea, he was arrested, forced to confess, judged without receiving any legal assistance, and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in an arbitrary and unjust manner similar to what many North Koreans have experienced.
 
Over the past 20 years, North Korea has arrested 16 US citizens on various trumped up charges. To date, three of them remain in custody. Over the same time period, hundreds of thousands of North Korean citizens have been held in the country’s vast system of labor camps for allegedly deviating from Pyongyang’s insistence on absolute loyalty to the ruling Kim family dynasty.
 
“The only comfort we can offer to the Warmbier family is that we will not cease our work on human rights in North Korea, until the perpetrators of these crimes have been brought to justice,” concluded Eun Kyoung Kwon.
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The International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea is a joint effort of over 40 human rights groups worldwide that seeks to protect the human rights of North Koreans and to hold the Pyongyang government accountable for its abuses and violations of the human rights of the North Korean people.