Largest Team of Accompaniers to EAPPI Dispatched

( [email protected] ) Nov 18, 2003 11:02 AM EST

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme of Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) received its largest team of accompaniers, to complement the 10 long-term volunteers currently in service.

Since the program’s inception 15 months ago, 59 ecumenical accompaniers have participated from more than 30 churches and ecumenical partners; the new batch of recruits boosts the number up to 80.

The EAPPI, created and funded by the World Council of Churches, is an ecumenical initiative to end the illegal occupation of Palestine through non-violent methods. Volunteers work with local churches, NGOs and small communities in monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, supporting acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offering protection through non-violent presence and engaging in public policy advocacy.

The current team of accompaniers comes from six countries: New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The 14 women and 7 men will serve in their respective locations for a minimum of three months.

Among them, eight will go to the West Bank Palestinian villages of Jayyous and Yanoun to continue the work of previous teams. Five have been assigned to the "Israel Team", a group formed in September to work with Israeli peace and justice organizations. Three accompaniers will be working with the Lutheran Church and school, and refugee camps in Ramallah. Four will be in a new placement in Sawahreh, a village split between East Jerusalem and the West Bank and threatened by the continued construction of Israel’s "separation fence" or wall. Two will be working in Hebron, accompanying children going to school and monitoring the human rights situation.

The basic framework of the EAPPI is based on the principles of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, including resolutions of the UN Security Council, General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights.