The VIVAT Spain Group, which has been present there since 2015 and fulfilling its programming, held, on October 22, 2022, a training day to raise awareness and make known the mission of VIVAT International and VIVAT Spain.
It was a whole day to spend with each other from the group, the people from our congregations and lay people who accepted the invitation, and with Andrzej Owca, CSSp, who is currently working in the Geneva Office of VIVAT International. The event was also an opportunity to listen to a video conference presentation by Carlos Ferrada, General Coordinator of JPIC of the SVDs.
The first topic, about what VIVAT International is and its mission, was developed by Carlos and the participants were able to ask questions that dealt mainly with critical issues that concern us, such as the credibility of the UN and the sense of participating in these areas, which has many bureaucratic and functional limitations. In spite of this, Carlos motivated and encouraged us to get to know and use this space where, despite the limitations, long-term goals can be achieved that change and improve the lives of people in a vision of the Kingdom of God.
Subsequently, the VIVAT Spain group shared with us how, since its creation, it has sought to promote collaboration between our institutes and Spanish society, especially in the field of immigration. It has been a space to share and strengthen us in the work with immigrants and refugees, in concrete activities of reception and taking our work further with the participation in 2020 to the UPR. A critical report has been presented on the inhuman and violent treatment that people receive in the CIES, with testimonies of the people who pass through them and the confirmation of the uselessness of the detentions carried out, which seriously interrupt the migratory project and integration of people, and not carrying out the repatriation that justifies this time of internment.
The group will continue to work to take advantage of the opportunity to intervene in the spaces offered by the “oral statement” in Geneva and through the submission of reports for the UPR 2025.
The second point of our work was in charge of Andrzej, who gave us the historical tour and developed the implications of what we define as Human Rights. Civil rights, economic, social and cultural rights. Rights are seen from different cultural and religious perspectives, and in different continents and cultural areas; Africa, East, etc., or international treaties against torture and deprivation of liberty, disappearances.
He gave a theoretical and practical overview of how we can understand our actions in reality based on the concepts of CHARITY and JUSTICE.
Undoubtedly, we are called to charity that leads us to care for the fallen, to remedy the effects of injustices and bad policies. But if we stop to think we also have to look at the causes and that is where the aspect of justice comes in. This allows us to achieve far-reaching goals, so that injustices are not repeated and people have a better quality of life.
Working for justice requires other ways, sometimes long and with tools that do not attract our attention: to know the laws, to collect documentation, to dialogue with politicians and administrators at various levels. The work that VIVAT International does may seem slow, but it contributes to change for a more just society and a better world.
The day was dynamic with concrete questions that led to the sharing of experiences.
At the conclusion of the day we celebrated the Eucharist asking the God of Life, God the Father Mother, to continue to strengthen us for the service of living the charity together with justice, denouncing the structures of sin and contributing to their change.
We appreciate everyone’s presence and the organization of the whole day.