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General Conference 2020 Resolutions and Resources
Resources for GC2020 will be added to this page in coming weeks and months
RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTED BY UMKR & PARTNERS* TO THE
UNITED METHODIST GENERAL CONFERENCE 2020
*Also submitted to GC 2020 by Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), the Executive Committee of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC), and seven regional task forces
Addressing Israeli Detention of Children
Whereas the Nobel Prize winning non-profit organization Human Rights Watch reported that thousands of Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, have been taken from homes and villages in their own land since 2000, and
Whereas it has been independently documented that many of the children have been abused by the Israeli military or by settlers, and
Whereas the children who are removed from their homes are taken to settlements or to interrogation sites, and sometimes into Israel which is a war crime according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and
Whereas UNICEF, Amnesty International, Defense for children International-Palestine, and other respected human rights organizations have documented that the children are often held for an extended time, some with no lawyer and without the presence or even knowledge of their parents, or held in administrative detention, without any charges being brought, and
Whereas the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church explicitly affirms the rights of children (¶162C Book of Discipline 2016), and
Whereas United Methodist Women have made the issues of incarceration of racial minorities and the well-being of children and young people as two of their priorities for the 2016-2020 quadrennium, and
Whereas the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by every member of the United Nations except the United States, and
Whereas in the previous quadrennium legislation has been introduced and reintroduced in the United States Congress that seeks to prevent the United States from financing or contributing to any nation’s, including Israel’s, use of military detention, in the interrogation, abuse, and ill-treatment of children, including Palestinian children, in violation of international law, and
Whereas the United Methodist baptismal covenant binds us to accept the freedom and power God gives us to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves,”
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 2020 General Conference of the United Methodist Church charges the General Board of Church and Society, in consultation with the General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women, to formulate a plan that addresses:
A. how best to educate and inform United Methodists around the issue of Palestinian child incarceration;
B. how best to interact with lawmakers and leaders around the world but particularly in the United States on the issue of Palestinian child incarceration;
C. possible actions United Methodists can take to avoid contributing to the suffering, abuse and imprisonment of Palestinian children or other children subject to military detention.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that recommendations produced by the aforementioned consultation be brought to the 2024 General Conference of the United Methodist Church for review and/or action.
Whereas both the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Council of Bishops have commended the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard for all peoples and nations (¶162A, The Book of Discipline 2016), and
Whereas the Social Principles in the United Methodist Book of Discipline explicitly affirms the rights of children (¶162C, The Book of Discipline 2016), and
Whereas The United Methodist Church has specifically affirmed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which says “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and that “No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time,” and
Whereas the Nobel Prize winning non-profit organization Human Rights Watch reports that the United States leads the industrialized world in the number and percentage of children in juvenile detention facilities, and
Whereas Human Rights Watch also reports that children are routinely imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria for alleged association with armed or extremist groups, that Egypt and Israel try and subsequently imprison children through military rather than civilian courts, and
Whereas the United Methodist Council of Bishops, United Methodist Women and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society have all denounced parent child separations at the US border, and
Whereas United Methodist Women has made the issues of incarceration of racial minorities and the well-being of children and young people as two of their priorities for the 2016-2020 quadrennium,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church formally endorses the application of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it relates to incarcerated children, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church charges the General Board of Church and Society, in consultation with the General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women, to formulate a plan that addresses:
A. how best to educate and inform United Methodists about the issue of child incarceration;
B. how best to interact with lawmakers and leaders around the world but particularly in the United States about the issue of child incarceration;
C. possible actions United Methodists can take to avoid contributing to the suffering, abuse and imprisonment of children.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that recommendations produced by the aforementioned consultation be brought to the 2024 General Conference of The United Methodist Church for review and/or action.
Download this resolution
Protecting the Right to Peacefully Address Injustice
Whereas United Methodists and other religious communities have long sought to address injustice using only non-violent means, and
Whereas measures such as boycotts have proven to be useful tools in helping to bring constructive social change, as evidenced by the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa, and
Whereas boycotts are constitutionally protected forms of free speech in the United States and many other nations, and they are also protected under international human rights law, and
Whereas the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine has issued a request asking church bodies around the world to prayerfully consider increasing their support for the human rights of all ethnic groups and religious bodies in the Holy Land, with particular regard to the rights of ethnic minorities, religious minorities including Christians, children who’ve been imprisoned, as well as the right to nonviolently protest such violations of basic rights, and to do so with actions as well as words, and
Whereas in 2012 the United Methodist General Conference approved the resolution "Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land" (2016 UM Book of Resolutions #6111), which calls on “all nations to prohibit...the import of products made by companies in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land,” i.e. calls for an international boycott of the Israeli settlements, and
Whereas thirteen United Methodist annual conferences have called for their own conference and/or the denomination to consider divesting from companies that support and profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and three United Methodists annual conferences have called for their own conference and/or the denomination to consider divesting from government bonds/ sovereign debt of countries who are engaged in prolonged military occupation, and
Whereas in 2016 the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (Wespath) announced that five Israeli banks would be excluded from their investment portfolios after having previously announced their divestment from a company running Israeli prisons, and
Whereas eleven annual conferences of The United Methodist Church and one jurisdiction have voted to specifically affirm the right to peacefully address injustice through boycotts, divestment and sanctions, and
Whereas a recent wave of governmental measures has been proposed or has been passed in various state legislatures that impose penalties on citizens and corporations for engaging in boycott, divestment and sanctions, and
Whereas, as a result of such state legislation, in 2017 the right of a Mennonite public school teacher in Kansas to be considered for a job was denied specifically because she refused to reject a personal boycott of products made in Israeli settlements in accordance with the stance of her church, and
Whereas the United States Congress has sought to officially condemn the use of time-honored economic methods for nonviolently addressing injustice, and
Whereas the United Methodist Social Principles calls on all Christians to resist unjust governmental interference in the work of the church (¶164B Book of Discipline),
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church opposes any interference by any local, regional, or national government in our right to address injustice through nonviolent economic means, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church urges all United Methodist annual and central conferences, congregations, and church members to contact their local, regional and national elected officials, to communicate this resolution and to advocate against suppression of time-honored and non-violent means of addressing injustice.