AFJN members in their annual meeting discussed and approved five resolutions treating important issues concerning the people of Africa. Members were encouraged to distribute and publicize the resolutions in their local newspapers, parishes, schools and other venues as well as using them when speaking with their elected representatives on all levels.
The first of the resolutions concerned the prevention of HIV infection. Inspired by last year’s Faith and Justice Award winner, Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa, the HIV resolution calls on the Church to accept the use of condoms to prevent HIV infection and thus to save lives.
A resolution was passed on the situation in Darfur, following up on last year’s resolution on the same subject. The members were dismayed with the lack of action in favor of the people of the Darfur region of Sudan and called on the administration, the Congress and the UN to take necessary political and military action to restore peace in the troubled region.
With elections coming up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the members were concerned about the security situation in the Congo and the long-term stability of the country. Therefore, they insisted, among other things, that the arms embargo be respected, that mining activities be ecologically sustainable and that profits generated by mineral extraction be directed back into local communities.
Sr. Connie Gemme, MSOLA, spoke to the annual conference about the ongoing problem of the trafficking of women and children. AFJN, in union with the United States Catholic Mission Association, responded by passing a resolution calling on the US Congress to ratify the UN protocol on trafficking. It also challenges AFJN members to take a greater role in educating the general public on the realities of human suffering caused by trafficking in Africa, in the United States and around the world.
Finally, the annual meeting of the members reiterated its support for the ongoing peace process in northern Uganda with a resolution calling upon the United States government to take a public stand in favor of the Juba peace talks. The resolution also takes aim at the long term humanitarian issues that the region faces in peace or in war.