Interfaith Afternoon Tea with Attorney Neri Colmenares | Justice and Peace

Individuals at an Interfaith Tea held in the Trendell Lounge at the Synod places of work of the Diocese of New Westminster on the afternoon of Oct 16, 2023, read from Lawyer Neri Colmenares, a Filipino human legal rights defender. His stop by was sponsored by the Intercontinental Coalition for Human Legal rights in the Philippines – Canada (ICHRP-Canada). ICHRP has a sturdy romantic relationship with the Anglican church and sponsored his stop by across Canada. The Interfaith Tea was offered in partnership with the diocesan Justice and Peace Unit, the Parish of St. Mary’s, South Hill and ICHRP Canada.

ICHRP Canada is a world wide network of corporations concerned about the human rights predicament in the Philippines. It is dedicated to campaign for just and long lasting peace in the place. It aims to notify the intercontinental local community about the grave human legal rights problem in the Philippines currently.

The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) is a potent supporter and husband or wife to the strategies and advocacy do the job of ICHRP. By means of its worldwide affairs ministry, along with other ecumenical companion-establishments and grassroots businesses, the ACoC has helped acquire productive responses via writing petitions and letters to the governing administration, organizing experience to experience meetings, sending a representative or representatives to global solidarity missions and devising a proactive system to handle issues pertaining to human, political, social and financial rights in the Philippines.

A major objective of the October 16 function was to expose the impacts of crimson-tagging (when a person or community is labeled by the govt as dissenters, lives in danger and reputations marred) and the abuse of the law by authorities decrees against people who raise human rights issues, putting those people life in hazard, several whom are in the faith communities.  

Lawyer Neri Colmenares is the Presidential Advisor on Human Legal rights of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the official corporation of Filipino legal professionals and Vice President of The Confederation of Attorneys in the Asia Pacific (COLAP). He presently serves as a legal counsel for the people of victims of extrajudicial killings arising from former President Duterte’s drug war in a criticism submitted with The Worldwide Felony Court docket (ICC) from Duterte and his law enforcement subordinates. He has received many international awards for his perform such as the 2020 Global Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Awards for ‘Outstanding Contribution by a Authorized Practitioner to Human Rights.’ Lawyer Neri’s lifelong commitment to human rights began when he became a university student leader during Martial Legislation in the 1970’s underneath previous President Ferdinand Marcos. Neri was arrested in 1978 at the age of 18, imprisoned for four a long time and tortured.

For the duration of his chat, Attorney Neri spoke of the seriousness of human rights violations getting put under the new President Marcos. The extrajudicial killings are continuing. The pink tagging is continuing. The purple tagging is versus people standing up for human rights, from companies and against the church buildings. He remembers years back talking with a church chief who reported to him that ‘every time the folks are oppressed, the church is oppressed.’ Now it is ever extra so, and with the crimson tagging he mentioned ‘every time the church is oppressed, the people are oppressed.’ All these abuses are to stifle dissent, to silence critics of the government and its policies.

Attorney Neri reflected on what offers him hope and hope for all who are performing for human rights. This hope is about faith in the capacity of the people today to transform society. It is about trusting in the capacity for the people today to result alter. “It is the conviction of hope, and due to the fact you hope, you trust…our battle is a affordable fight. We understand our victories on the side of justice.”

In attendance have been roughly 25 from various Filipino Organizations, like, Migrante BC and Sulong UBC – a Filipino Canadian college student and youth firm. The Rev. Expedito Farinas, Rector of St. Mary’s South Hill and the Rev. Margaret Marquardt, Chair of the diocesan Justice and Peace Device of the diocese welcomed the visitors to the Synod workplace.  Offering the Land Acknowledgment was Retired Bishop Alex Wandag, an Honorary Assistant at St. Michael’s, Multicultural in Vancouver. Bishop John Stephens supplied the Opening Prayer.  

In his purpose as Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, which is in a Companion connection with Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP), he frequented the Philippines in 2022. In our diocese he has engaged with the Justice and Peace Unit, Ms. Beth Dollaga, Filipino leaders in our church buildings, and with the leadership in EDNP pertaining to human rights. In the question time period, Bishop John asked Lawyer Neri about assistance for human legal rights in a partnership product and in preserving churches and folks. Attorney Neri responded that the operate of partnership is 1 of continuing to hear the path of those functioning in human legal rights in the Philippines and to work in solidarity.

Ms. Beth Dollaga, Vice Chair of ICHRP was a principal organizer of the Tea released Lawyer Neri.

The members were being referred to as to motion by the Chair of ICHRP-Canada, the Rev. Patricia Lisson, United Church Minister in Toronto whose ministry focuses on ecumenism and Dr. Andrea Mann, the ACoC’s World Affairs Director.  

A Countrywide ICHRP- Canada Convention 3rd Common Assembly ‘Resist Condition Terror. Stand for People’s Legal rights in the Philippines.’ will be held in Montreal May perhaps 3 -5, 2024. Information and facts is readily available right here on the organization’s web site. 

At the summary of the time collectively, the Rev. Stuart Lyster, of the United Church of Canada (UCC), a proponent of Authorized Defence Fund of the UCC led the Closing Prayers that available the bravery and hope for all to dwell into justice and peace together in God’s beloved community.

Illustrations or photos


  • A Team shot of people existing
  • &#13

  • Attorney Neri Colmenares
  • &#13

  • Bishop Wandag gives the Land Acknowledgement
  • &#13

  • Ms. Beth Dollaga, Vice-Chair ICHRP-Canada
  • &#13

  • The Reverends Expedito Farinas and Margaret Marquardt
  • &#13

Photographs: Randy Murray

Please discover attached underneath a PDF letter from Beth Dollaga with more pictures and cutlines.