In This Issue

1) Thank you for standing with KAIROS!
2) Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from KAIROS' member churches and organisations
3) Letter of condolences and support to Rights & Democracy
3) Haiti's debt cancellation a step forward but must be unconditional
4) Copenhagen Accord or Discord
5) URGENT ACTION: Act now to save the lives of community activists in El Salvador
6) Reporting on the gap: comparing Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada
7) The underlying injustices facing the Lubicon Cree
8) KAIROS demands release of 43 medical and health workers


i stand for kairos

Since the end of November, when KAIROS received word that its 35 year funding agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would not be renewed, you have stood with us, with courage and hope.

You have written letters to the Minister for International Cooperation, the Prime Minister, CIDA and your MP. You’ve circulated and signed petitions; you’ve written letters to the editor and engaged in online debates about KAIROS. You’ve held prayer vigils and public events. You’ve met with over 100 Members of Parliament. You have created a national debate about what is happening to Canada’s International Development priorities and the nature of democratic discourse.

We here at KAIROS, and the partners throughout Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific who are the real victims of this cut, thank you. We have not yet restored our CIDA funding, but your work makes that outcome more possible, even as we continue with our committed program on human rights and sustainability.

As we move forward, we’d like to support events you might be holding in your communities on KAIROS or the justice issues we work on. If you are having prayer vigils, discussion forums, film nights or other events in any of the areas of our work, do contact us. We’d be happy to help you promote these events, and if possible, come out and spend time with you. Just contact Sara Stratton for more information – or 416-463-5312 (tollfree 1-877-403-8933) ext 241.

We’d also like to (literally!) take a snapshot of who we are as movement. But we need your help to do that!

Could you take a moment, at your home, school or workplace, to take a picture of yourself (or your group) and send it in for posting it our “Stand For Courage – Stand for Hope – Stand with KAIROS” photo gallery?

All you need is a digital camera and a sign that says, "I Stand with KAIROS!” Hold up the sign, click the shutter, and send us the picture. This could be a great children’s time, Sunday school, or coffee hour activity. It could also liven up your annual vestry or congregational meeting!

Be creative about the signs – include you own message. Maybe you also stand with one of our global partners, or one of the goals we work for such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People or Climate Justice. Let us –and everyone else– know just where you stand!

Please send photos to

We will continue to keep you posted!


On January 21, in light of the uncertainty around the reasons for the cut of CIDA's funding to KAIROS, the heads of KAIROS' eleven member churches and organizations sent a letter to Prime Minister Harper requesting a meeting to seek clarification about why KAIROS was refused CIDA funding.

Read the Letter to the PM >>


On January 8, 2009 Rémy Beauregard, president of Rights & Democracy, and a renowned and respected advocate and champion of human rights, died in his sleep. Rights & Democracy has since been the centre of a very public, and surely painful, maelstrom of political and legal contention. KAIROS' Executive Director Mary Corkery sent this letter of condolence and support to staff of Rights & Democracy.



A vote of thanks is owed to the over 400,000 people worldwide, including many KAIROS supporters, who signed petitions demanding full debt cancellation for Haiti in the wake of its devastating earthquake. On February 6th Finance Minister Jim Flaherty issued a statement in Iqaluit saying that G7 finance ministers had agreed that Haiti's debt to multilateral financial institutions should be "forgiven ... as soon as possible." This is good news. However, questions remain concerning what conditions might still be attached to debt cancellation.

Click here to read more about the kinds of conditions that the International Monetary Fund imposes on Haiti.


For more information contact John Dillon,
Program Coordinator for Global Economic Justice


The UN climate summit in Copenhagen December 2009 has been variously described as a “failure”, a “setback”, or “utter chaos.” Since the climate conference in Bali in 2007, the hopes of the world had been pinned on Copenhagen to yield a new global agreement on climate change that would dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions around the world, particularly in developed countries, and provide urgently needed funding to poor countries already deal-ing with the impacts of climate change. What do the outcomes from Copenhagen mean for people calling for climate justice for the poor and marginalized in the global South? Where do we go next after Copenhagen? This paper examines the implications of the new Copenhagen Accord and explores some possible future directions for our work.

Read the Briefing Paper (PDF)


For more information contact John Dillon,
Program Coordinator for Global Economic Justice


Dora Recino

KAIROS is gravely concerned about the threats and killings of human rights defenders and environmental activists in the Department of Cabañas, El Salvador. Just before the New Year, we received reports that two more community activists were killed, bringing the death toll of human rights defenders in Cabañas to three in 2009. These activists have opposed the presence of Canadian mining company Pacific Rim which, on having its mining license revoked by the Salvadorean government, has launched a $77 million dollar lawsuit against the Salvadorean government.

Click here to view the full story

Click here to view backgrounder from NACLA:
'Salvadoran Anti-Mining Activists
Risk Their Lives by Taking On ‘Free Trade'’


For more information contact Rachel Warden,
Latin America Partnerships Program Coordinator


“For far too long the hopes and aspirations of indigenous peoples have been ignored; their lands have been taken; their cultures denigrated or directly attacked; their languages and customs suppressed; their wisdom and traditional knowledge overlooked; and their sustainable ways of developing natural resources dismissed. Some have even faced the threat of extinction...
- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 2004

In February 2009 the United Nation's Human Rights Council's Periodic Review raised concerns about Canada's performance on the welfare of Indigenous peoples. Ed Bianchi's sobering report compares the living standards of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Read the Report >>


For more information contact Ed Bianchi
Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator


"While billions of dollars of oil and gas revenue have flowed to the province of Alberta, the Lubicon face dire poverty and pervasive ill-health as a consequence of the contamination of their lands and the near-total destruction of their traditional economy."

Amnesty International and KAIROS Canada's joint statement urges the Federal government and the government of Alberta to recognize the right of the Lubicon people to benefit from the use of their own land and resources.

Read the Statement >>


For more information contact Ed Bianchi
Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator


KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives is calling for the release of 43 medical and health workers in the Philippines who were arrested on February 6th of this year in Morong, Rizal. The 43 medical and health workers were participating in a health training sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation, Inc., and the Council for Health and Development, when 300 soldiers arrested them.

Click here to read the full KAIROS statement.

We urge you to write letters to the Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to join our call for the immediate release of the detainees and to ensure their safety while in the custody of the military.

To read a sample letter, please click here.

philippine detainees


For more information, please contact:
Connie Sorio,
Asia-Pacific Partnerships Coordinator

donate to KAIROS


Connecting the Drops

connecting the drops

View 'Connecting the Drops' online

In May 2009, KAIROS took a delegation of church leaders and Southern and Indigenous partners to visit the Athabasca tar sands and meet the people who work for and are affected by this industry. Get a taste of what they experienced in our new 20 minute video, "Connecting the Drops."  Great for a community film and discussion night.

To purchased it on DVD ($5.00 plus shipping and handling) email Caroline Foster at: 416-463-5312 /
1-877-403-8933 x 221.



General Coordinator CEIBA: the Association for the Promotion of Community Development

Mario Godinez

Click here to listen to Mario's presentation at KAIROS, November 6, 2009 (KAIROS' Rachel Warden translating).

Mario Godinez
is a human rights and environmental activist who has accompanied the diverse struggles of Indigenous communities in Guatemala in their defence of bio-diversity and natural resources. Mario is the general coordinator of CEIBA (the Association for the Promotion of Community Development), a KAIROS partner that works with communities to develop public policy and advocacy related to resource extraction and climate change.


advent wreath


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a small village on the edge of a river. The people who lived there were kind and the life in the village was good.

One day, one of the villagers went for a walk. As he was crossing the only bridge in the village, he noticed a tiny baby floating in the river. Without hesitating, the villager jumped into the water, swam out to the baby and saved it from drowning. The next day this same villager was walking along the river bank when he noticed two babies in the river. Quickly he called for help, and both babies were rescued from the turbulent waters. The following day the number of babies floating in the river had increased to four. The days that followed there were eight, then more, and still more.

The kind, caring, and gentle villagers organized themselves quickly, setting up watch towers and training teams of swimmers who could resist the swift waters to rescue the increasing number of babies that came floating down the turbulent waters each day. Rescue squads were soon working 24 hours a day. Each day the number of helpless babies floating down the river increased.

The villagers organized themselves efficiently. The rescue squads were now snatching many children each day. Groups were trained to give mouth to mouth resuscitation. Others prepared formula and provided clothing for the chilled babies. Many, particularly the elderly women, were involved in making clothing and knitting blankets. Still others provided foster homes and placements.

While not all the babies, now very numerous, could be saved, the villagers felt they were doing well to save as many babies as they could each day. Indeed, the village priest blessed them in their work. Life in the village continued on that basis.

One day, however, someone raised the question, “Where are all these babies coming from? Who is throwing them into the river? Why are they doing this? We need to organize a team to go upstream and see who’s doing this.” But the ‘seeming’ logic of the elders countered: “If we go upstream who will operate the rescue operations? We need every concerned and able person to help with the rescue mission.”

“But don’t you see,” cried the lone voice, “if we find out who is throwing the babies in the river, we can stop the problem and no more babies will drown. By going upstream we can eliminate the cause of the problem.” “It is too risky,” the elders responded. And so the number of babies in the river increased daily. Those that were saved increased as well, but those who drowned increased even more.

Author unknown