CPT UK Launch Press release

CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS LAUNCHES IN UK
UK Christians urged to participate in peacemaking in Iraq and internationally

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is pleased to announce the launch of a CPT UK, a regional group of the North American based organization, and is inviting Christians to participate in its peacemaking work.

In recent months, CPT has been able to witness and report several important events in Iraq, turning the public spotlight on human rights abuses and injustice. In mid-April, when many journalists could not get access during the siege of Falluja, CPT reported the killings of women and children by American troops. CPT members were also present on 2nd March at Kadhamiya shrine by invitation of the Imam when a bomb killed many pilgrims during an Iraqi holy day.

A report with 72 testimonies of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees was released by CPT in January, four months before the photos of abused prisoners were made public. CPT's work with detainees has been reported in the Independent (Huggler, 9/5), the Guardian (5/5) the International Herald Tribune (Fisher, 10/5), and the Church of England Newspaper (6/5).

CPT has maintained an almost continuous presence in Iraq since October 25, 2002. The core team comprises full-time personnel, supplemented by part-timers, and 10-14 day ‘delegations’ of people interested in working with local peacemakers. They are open to anyone with a commitment to nonviolence interested in better understanding the conflict and the opportunities for peace.

The next CPT delegation to Iraq is scheduled for Sept 28 - Oct 12, 2004. Those interested can apply through the CPT website.

“There is a desperate need for independent witnesses in Iraq to help Iraqis hold the Coalition to account.” said Justin Alexander, coordinator of the Jubilee Iraq campaign. Alexander who has spent time with the CPT team in Baghdad continued; “CPT is one of the few groups doing this and, through close working relationships with Islamic leaders, it is counteracting the perception that the conflict is between Islam and Christianity.”

“Now more than ever there is a desperate need to address escalating cycles of violence, particularly in the Middle East.” commented CPT member David Cockburn. “ Our West Bank violence reduction team has worked successfully with Muslims, Jews, Christians and others to calm many situations effectively, and shows how nonviolence rather than violence, can break such cycles.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

CPT was formed in 1992 by the Quakers, Brethren, and Mennonite churches, and now has a wide base of support. CPT offers an organized, nonviolent alternative to war and other forms of conflict. CPT seeks to provide organisational support to persons committed to faith-based nonviolent alternatives in situations where lethal conflict is an immediate reality or is supported by public policy. CPT currently has teams in Iraq, Colombia, the West Bank, and Canada (mediating conflicts between the state and indigenous Canadians).

CPT's work in Iraq is based on following Jesus' call to truth telling, radical discipleship, and peacemaking.

On Tuesday, 8th June at 7:30 pm at the London Mennonite Centre there will be a presentation for those interested in learning more about CPT, their work around their world, and how to get involved. David Cockburn and Tim Nafziger, both part time CPT corps members will speak about their experiences with CPT. The Centre is 1 block from the Highgate tube station in London. For directions, see www.menno.org.uk.

CPT UK will be working as part of the Root and Branch Network which includes the Anabaptist Network, the London Mennonite Centre, SPEAK and Ekklesia.

CONTACT

Tim Nafziger 0845-4500 214