Violence in the DRC
The United Nations warns of rising violence and political tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Police and demonstrators have clashed in protests following a ruling in May that would allow President Joseph Kabila to remain in power beyond two terms if scheduled elections in November are postponed—and fears are rising that the elections may actually be postponed. The government has been responding to protesters and activists with arbitrary arrests and violence. Additionally, armed groups in the eastern part of the state remain active, and many have committed war crimes and abuses against citizens without consequence or government response.
Lord, we lift prayers for the people of the DRC—especially women, children, persons with disabilities, and those who are most vulnerable to violence. We pray that help will come in the forms of health care, peacemaking, and political resolution. We pray for transparency, anticorruption, and just leadership all over the world—but especially today in the DRC.
Palestinian Teen Killed
A small group of Palestinians were throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at cars traveling between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the West Bank. Three individuals were wounded. The Israeli military responded and shot a 15-year-old Palestinian boy not involved in the incident. The troops also injured a second Palestinian bystander in the gunfire. The Israeli military has shot and killed 197 Palestinians in the past eight months. Palestinian attacks during the same period have killed 32 Israelis. Conflicts continue as peace talks have been stalled for the past two years and as the Israeli government continues to build and expand illegal settlements in Palestinian territory.
God, we again pray for the people of Palestine and Israel who have known so much conflict for so long. We pray for all who have lost their homes and livelihoods, for those who have experienced so much trauma. We continue to pray for peace, Lord, where there has been no peace.
Situation in Venezuela Worsens
The situation in Venezuela has worsened in the past weeks. Lootings have increased to 10 per day around the country as food shortages continue—and riots have increased, calling for President Nicolas Maduro to step down. Four individuals have died in clashes with security during lootings, and many have been arrested. The current economic collapse in Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world, has been credited to low oil prices and also to President Maduro’s economic policies. Currently 87 percent of Venezuelans do not have enough money to buy food—and for citizens without enough funds, food is not available.
For the people of Venezuela we pray, Lord. We pray for those who are hungry, who lack necessary medicine, who fear for their safety. We pray for economic stability and political wisdom, and we ask that you will move global leaders to pay attention to the worsening situation in Venezuela.
Myanmar Ban on “Rohingya”
On June 16, the Information Ministry of the Myanmar government banned government officials from using the term “Rohingya.” Instead the Muslim minority is to be referred to as “people who believe in Islam.” The government also stated that ethnic Rakhine individuals should be called “people who believe in Buddhism.” These rules, meant to be confidential, were announced in advance of an important visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, begun earlier this week. The government is eager to avoid drawing attention to the one million stateless Rohingya in Myanmar during Rapporteur Lee’s visit. The Myanmar government denies the existence of Rohingya, denies them equal access to citizenship, and perpetrates numerous human rights and systemic abuses against them.
God, because we are people who believe in Jesus, we grieve this oppression—no one should be persecuted because of their faith. We ask for protection of the Rohingya and Rakhine peoples. Send advocates to fight for their well-being. Hold accountable those who view them as less than human.