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Archbishop Ivan Jurkovia Appeals to International Community to Help Syria

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Archbishop Ivan Jurkovia Appeals to International Community to Help Syria

“Embrace the perspective of victims” of the war in Syria.

This was the appeal made to the international community by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovia, a Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, while speaking to the 34th Session of Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

The Vatican official decried the six years of tragedy that have struck and continue to hit Syria, and called for all parties to work toward bringing peace and justice to the suffering country.

Below is the Vatican-provided statement by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council:


Item 4 ” Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (Geneva, 14 March 2017):

Mr. President,

The Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as other sources, depict all too well the disastrous situation that continues to  unfold after  more than  six  years  of  violence: hundreds of  thousands of  victims and wounded; family-life disrupted; infrastructure, houses, schools, hospitals, and places of worship wrecked; entire cities ravaged; malnutrition and inadequate medical care. This is the grim reality that the Syrian people face every day.

The Holy See  wishes  to reiterate its  solidarity with  the  Syrian  people  and especially with the victims of violence, and encourages the international community to embrace the perspective of victims. Six years of senseless slaughter expose once again the illusion, and the futility, of war as a mean  to settle  disputes. The ambition for  political power and selfish  interests,  combined  with  the complicity  of  those stirring up violence and hatred by supplying considerable amounts of resources and weapons,  have  resulted  in an  exodus of  5 million people from Syria since  2011, leaving behind another 13.5 million people in need, with about half of them being children.

Confronted  with these numbers, dialogue  on all  levels is  the only  way forward. While  my Delegation welcomes the small steps adopted  recently  in  this regard, we  wish  to stress  that there can  be no military solution  to  the  situation in Syria. We must not  succumb to  the  logic of violence,  as  violence only begets violence.

Mr. President,

It is unacceptable that children often  pay the ultimate price during  such conflicts:  “Some  of them know  no other life than war. Others were born under bombings. They suffer  enormous psychological  pressure” Rarely does  a smile appear on their faces. Suffering comes through in their frightened eyes. They wake up under the sound of explosions, bombs, and rockets”

Pope Francis has  expressed repeatedly  his closeness to the Syrian people, especially to ” “the young people affected by the brutal conflict in Syria, deprived of the joys of childhood and youth, such  as the ability to play games and to attend school”

Mr. President,

My Delegation wishes to make an appeal  that peace, forgiveness and reconciliation can  triumph over violence and resentment.  Six  years  of  ongoing conflict indicate  the failure of the international community at large. The situation in Syria is our common responsibility  as a family of nations. The rights of the Syrian people, regardless of  their religious or  ethnic identity,  must  be protected as  all Syrians  share  the  just  aspirations to justice  and  peace,  fundamental  elements of integral human development. In  this  regard, it is of the utmost importance that religious and ethnic minorities do not become the pawns of geopolitical trade-offs, but be fully involved in a transparent and inclusive negotiating process, with equal rights and equal responsibilities, as this is the only way to build a peaceful future.

In conclusion, my delegation wishes to emphasize that the dignity inherent in every  human person must take every precedence over  power and revenge.  The unjust suffering of the innocent victims of this senseless slaughter should motivate all involved parties to engage in a serious dialogue and to work towards a future of peace and justice.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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