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Death penalty initiatives in Papua New Guinea criticised

Sydney (CathNews): Caritas Australia condemned recent actions in the parliament of Papua New Guinea that could revive the use of the death penalty, 

In a May 30 media statement, the agency’s chief executive officer, Jack de Groot, said the death penalty would equate to state-sponsored violence.

“This move is a backward step and is only going to send a message that the state … is tolerant of violence,” he said.

De Groot stressed, “Human life is sacred and every life is precious. This is not going to change anything, because we know there is no point in using violence as a means of preventing violence.” He noted that Papua New Guinea’s struggle with violent crime is a reality that needs to be confronted.

“There is an urgent need to address (the country’s) struggle with violent crime and agencies like ours are working toward that end on the ground, but there’s no evidence that state-sponsored homicide in the form of the death penalty will act as a deterrent.”

Caritas Australia has more than dozen programmes in Papua New Guinea aimed at helping the most marginalised, focussing on a range of issues such as health, education and HIV/AIDS. 


Israeli university declares Christmas a school holiday

Haifa (CWNews): In mid-May, the University of Haifa became the first Israeli university to declare Christmas Day a holiday for students. The university’s faculty senate also voted to make the Muslim feast of Eid al Fitr, which comes at the end of Ramadan, and the Druze feast of Eid al-Adha (The Feast of the Sacrifice), holidays as well. 

According to the Times of Israel, a special committee with student representation recommended the move. The May 29 report also noted that Arab-Israelis make up about 20 per cent of the student body, according to its Jewish-Arab Centre.


The new holidays, which are in addition to Jewish holidays, will go into effect in the coming school year.

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