February 00

February 7, 2000

Dear Friends,

Since you have expressed interest in Advocates, I want to send you a brief report on the highlights of 1999 and some of our plans for Year 2000. As you can see from the bottom of this stationery, we now have 8 branch offices working on behalf of the persecuted and others who need help. We hope that you will consider being part of Advocates' plans for Year 2000.

Perhaps the most exciting news is our newest international staff member, former U.N. Ambassador from Bulgaria Slavi Pachovski. We first met Slavi when he was a human rights professor at Sofia University on our first visit in July, 1991. We have maintained contact over the years. He is of like heart and mind and will be a tremendous asset at the U.N. in New York. What an opportunity to have a former Ambassador serve with us in this capacity!

Today, I leave for Israel to join two of our 1999 International Convocation "alumni," Marvin Kramer (a Messianic Jewish lawyer) and Botrus Mansour (an Arab Christian lawyer), as well as our Board Member John Johnson and Gary Friesen from Peacemaker Ministries. On February 10-11, they will present a seminar on Biblical conflict resolution and reconciliation for about 40 Israeli lawyers, clergy, and lay leaders. On Sunday, February 13, I have the opportunity to speak in a Baptist church in Nazareth. Needless to say, this will be a moving experience.

From February 14 - 17, I will be in Albania to plan with their Supreme Court our judicial conference for Year 2000 and to establish a Christian lawyer group. We will also be meeting with the President and others to discuss the possibility of a Christian college in Albania. During February 17 - 20, I will be in Bulgaria meeting with our network of 100+ Christian lawyers. Last week, the Bulgarian Parliament took the first step to pass a law that would be very detrimental to religious freedom. We will be addressing this issue and appreciate your prayers.

Our current board and staff and their responsibilities are set forth at the end of the enclosed report. Please be in prayer for each of them as we continue. . .

Living in His-story,

Samuel E. Ericsson

P.S. At Advocates, a little goes a long way. A $100 gift underwrites our one-lawyer office in Mongolia for a week, while a $300 gift supports our two-lawyer office in Bulgaria for a week. We hope you'll be able to help us in Year 2000. Thank you.


To: John Langlois, Chairman, and Board of Directors
From: Sam Ericsson, President & CEO
Wally Cheney, General Counsel
Date: February 4, 2000
Subject: Report on 1999 Activities and Plans for Year 2000

* In January, 1999 Wally Cheney joined Advocates' staff as its General Counsel and Director of International Programs. Wally is spear-heading building an international network of advocates which we hope will exceed 100 nations by the end of 2000. In Year 2000, we are budgeting $20,000 for regional directors in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America to oversee building the networks on each continent.
* We began 1999 with offices in Bulgaria and Mongolia and added offices advancing our work in China, Egypt, Latin America, the U.K. and at the United NationsCommission on Human Rights in Geneva. In Year 2000, we hope to add offices in Albania and Romania, as well as at the United Nations in New York.
* The 1999 International Convocation brought together 110 advocates from 43 nations. Wally Cheney maintains regular contact with our "innkeepers" located in over 50 countries. His wife, Gloria, oversees a weekly prayer calendar tying these folks together through the Internet. In Year 2000, we hope to bring advocates from 100 nations to the U.S. for two weeks of training and networking. A key component of the program will be participation in the Christian Legal Society conference in Washington, D.C., with over 1200 Christian lawyers and judges expected to attend. Advocates will challenge 92 local CLS chapters to adopt and sponsor a specific nation this year. Our budget for Year 2000 Convocation is $300,000.

* In July, 1991, Roger Sherrard and Sam Ericsson met law professor Slavi Pachovski at a meeting on human rights, religious freedom, and constitutional law which he organized at Sofia University. During 1992-1997, Slavi Pachovski served as the Bulgarian Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador Pachovski is fluent in English, French, Russian, and Bulgarian. Over the past eight years he has developed an extensive network of relationships in the diplomatic community at the U.N. and elsewhere. He was a participant in the 1999 Convocation and is of like heart and mind with Advocates. Because of his extensive background in human rights and diplomacy, it is our recommendation that he be Advocates' "Liaison to the United Nations" to work on specific religious liberty, human rights, and other matters of concern to us.

* Advocates opened the Rule of Law Institute in Bulgaria in 1994 with five Christian lawyers. By 1999, the Institute had become the second largest law organization in Bulgaria, and its 100 members make it the largest network of active Christian lawyers on the European continent. In 1999, the Institute was engaged in 28 projects. It convened the first-ever Christian lawyer conference with over 100 in attendance. In Year 2000, in addition to its strategic religious freedom work, the Institute plans to conduct seminars on conflict resolution as well as give input on new laws impacting family and religion being proposed by the Parliament. Our budget for Bulgaria in 2000 is $20,000.
* In 1999 Advocates organized the first-ever Christian lawyer conference in Romania with 45 attending. In Year 2000, Advocates hopes to open a Rule of Law Institute in Romania to follow the Bulgarian model and conduct a follow-up lawyers' conference. Our budget for Romania in Year 2000 is $10,000.
* In 1999, Advocates opened an office in Chengdu, the economic hub for western China. Art Lees, a U.S. lawyer who has worked in China for most of the past decade, serves as our representative. In December Art was elected Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce for Chengdu and its province. This position gives Art excellent access to ambassadors, governors, and other officials as he seeks to advance Advocates' mission in China. Our $10,000 budget for China covers only office and travel expenses. Mr. Lees is a lawyer/tentmaker in China.
* In June, 1999, British Barrister Elizabeth Batha became our full-time advocate at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. In 1999, Elizabeth intervened for us on behalf of persecuted Christians in Afghanistan, Burma, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey and Vietnam. Her $65,000 budget is funded 50% by Advocates and 50% by Christian Solidarity Worldwide of London, led by Baroness Caroline Cox.
* Advocates International has been active in Mongolia since December, 1996. In 1998, it opened a full-time law office in Ulaanbaatar with Baasankhuu Octyabar serving as our Director. In 1999 he revived the registration of the Union Bible Training Center and had a $39,000 fine against them cancelled. He has helped 32 churches get registered, assisted the Zion Church acquire land for building, organized several meetings of lawyers and clergy on church-state issues, removed customs barriers to the importation of 2,000 children's Bibles, and played a key role in derailing a potentially damaging proposed church-state law. In Year 2000, the new Chief Justice has invited Advocates to convene our fourth judicial seminar. Wally Cheney has also been invited to address prison reform issues. Our budget for Mongolia in Year 2000 is $20,000.
* Advocates has been active in Albania since 1992. We have conducted national judicial conferences in 1993, 1994, and 1995. The new Chief Justice, who served as Advocates' co-organizer in prior conferences, has invited us to conduct judicial training in Year 2000. Advocates plans to establish a Rule of Law Institute in Albania this year. We are also discussing the possibility of opening the first Christian college in Albania. Several national leaders are supportive of this effort, and Advocates has mobilized a team of U.S. educators and development groups to help. Wally Cheney has also been asked to address Albanian prison issues. The budget for Albania for Year 2000 is $10,000.
* In 1999, Advocates' "innkeeper" in Israel, Marvin Kramer, Counsel for the Messianic Action Committee, helped establish a legal precedent in Israel's Supreme Court protecting the citizenship and permanent residency rights of Christian spouses of Israeli citizens. In Year 2000, Marvin, the only known Messianic Jew practicing law in Israel, and Botrus Mansour are organizing a conference on peacemaking with the help of John Johnson and Gary Friesen to be co-sponsored by Peacemaker Ministries. Arab Christians, Messianic Jews, and other believers will participate in this event in February, 2000. The budget for Israel for Year 2000 is $6,000.
* In July, 1999, Nagi Kheir became our Director of Middle East Affairs. An Egyptian immigrant, Nagi has served as Spokesman for the American Coptic Association for several years. He gives counsel to Members of Congress and the State Department on matters relating to persecution in Egypt. In October, 1999, Morris Sadik became our Counsel for Middle East Affairs. Mr. Sadik is one of Egypt's most respected human rights lawyers and directs a five-lawyer firm in Cairo. In January, 2000, Advocates provided funds to fly Mr. Sadik to Cairo for six weeks. The budget for Egypt for Year 2000 is $20,000.
* In August, 1999, Peacemaker Ministries co-sponsored conferences in Zambia and South Africa (attended by "innkeepers" from six nations). Advocates' network of Christian lawyers in Africa will hold its Year 2000 conference in Nairobi, Kenya in August.
* In January, 2000, Advocates and the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship launched Global Voice, an information network linking 2,000 parliamentarians from over 110 nations. The co-editors of Global Voice will be Johan Candelin, the Director of the Religious Liberty Commission, and myself. Global Voice will serve as a vehicle for advocating each month the release of two Christians imprisoned for their faith. The Managing Editor of Global Voice will be Mark Albrecht, who serves as the moderator of the Religious Liberty Commission Email Conference and as Advocates' Senior Editor. The budget for Global Voice is $50,000 per year, of which $40,000 has already been raised for Year 2000.
* At the 1999 Convocation we met Juan Picado, a lawyer from San Jose, Costa Rica. Juan is open to being the initial "bridge office" into Latin America with particular focus in Central America. It is our recommendation that Juan be given the title "Counsel for Latin America."

In 1995, Advocates co-sponsored a judicial conference for 180 judges in Yerevan, Armenia. One of the key justices at that conference was Alvina Gyulumyan, who now serves on the Constitutional Court. She is the most respected female jurist in Armenia. She attended the 1999 Convocation and recently advised us of an international conference on "Christianity and Law" to be co-sponsored by the Constitutional Court and the Armenian Orthodox Church. Advocates has been invited to participate in this historic conference. Our current plans call for Sam Ericsson and Professor and Board Member Lynn Buzzard to participate in the conference. The budget for Armenia for Year 2000 is $4,000.