Africa

Church leaders hope Trump does not repeal conflict-minerals provisions

Church leaders and organizations in Africa, Europe and the United States said it would be disastrous if U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order telling companies they no longer had to disclose whether their firms use "conflict minerals" from Congo.

Western firms have been accused of working with violent gangs in Congo to obtain minerals used for producing mobile phones, laptops and other consumer objects, and of allowing trade in resources to perpetuate human rights violations.

Bishops seek food relief as Kenya declares drought area national disaster

The Kenyan government declared the country's drought a national disaster, three days after Catholic bishops requested such an action.

The bishops appealed for food relief Feb. 7, in an effort to get help from other countries. Reliefweb, a specialized digital service of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in the last year, Kenya's food insecurity had nearly doubled, so that now 1.25 million people are affected. The drought has also affected livestock and wildlife in 23 of Kenya's 47 counties.

Severe drought brings starving Kenyans to church doorsteps

Drought in Eastern Africa: In Thatha, about 93 miles northeast of Nairobi, a severe drought has left many families without food, water and pasture for their livestock. "The rains are our greatest disappointment," Agnes Mwikali, a 40-year-old mother said. "Every season, we plant our seeds and watch the crops germinate, only for the rains to leave before they mature."

Congo's bishops hope to save peace pact, but see no will to act quickly

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Congo's bishops are urgently seeking to rescue a government-opposition peace accord, reached in the final minutes of 2016.

"Our latest meeting should have covered the question of governance - but contacts between the political actors are, unfortunately, not yet realized," the bishops' conference said Jan. 24. "We have retired to consider what next, after concluding there was no real will to tackle the problems quickly."

Catholic leaders in Congo welcome church-mediated accord

Peace talks in Congo: Catholic leaders in Congo said they hope for lasting peace, after the bishops' conference helped mediate a government-opposition accord. "We're all saluting this great step, the fruit of a dialogue arranged by the church," said Msgr. Leonard Santedi Kinkupu, rector of Kinshasa's Catholic University and former of secretary-general of the bishops' conference.

Letters from South Sudan

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Writer Chris Herlinger is currently in South Sudan reporting for NCR. Here is his first letter regarding the experiences and fears of the people he has met. As he continues his work there, look for more blog posts, stories and photos from him about the realities people are facing.
 

First impressions aren’t always accurate. But in my first days here I have been struck by the extent of trauma people have experienced – and real worries that the violence that has rocked South Sudan since mid-December may not be over.

Letters from South Sudan

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With fears that the situation in South Sudan is disappearing from the front pages of newspapers, the United Nations released a press statement yesterday appearing on U.N. News Centre about the desperate need for relief in the most remote areas of the country still affected by violence. As the rainy season approaches in central Africa, the situation for refugees living in camps becomes more precarious. Br. Bill Firman with Solidarity with South Sudan gives an update.

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In This Issue

March 24-April 6, 2017

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