Briefly Noted

  • Two Guatemalan military officers have been arrested and charged with the April 1998 murder of Catholic bishop and human rights advocate Juan Jose Gerardi. One of the officers, Col. Byron Disrael Lima Estrada, had received military police training at the U.S. Army School of the Americas. For more information, visit www.soaw.org.
  • Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) has announced a "conceptual framework" for a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace. Promoting domestic and international nonviolent conflict resolution, its funding would be based on 1 percent of the annual defense budget. Read the full proposal at www.house.gov/ kucinich/action/peace/htm.
  • More than 1,000 scholars and clergy have signed a "Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing," which calls for "full inclusion of women and sexual minorities in congregational life" as well as "a faith-based commitment to sexual and reproductive rights," including access to abortion. Signed mainly by liberal Protestants and Unitarian Universalists, conservative critics have charged them with using religious language to "overthrow biblical morality."
  • In response to a White House plan to send $1.6 billion in mostly military aid to Colombia, the Mennonite Church in Colombia issued a letter to President Clinton asking him to "substitute military involvement in our country for a large-scale investment in lasting peace." (See the full text at www.prairienet.org/cpt/colombia.html) Human Rights Watch also criticized the current administration policy, calling for additional funding for civilian staff to aid in monitoring and investigating human rights abuses.

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