Archbishop Tomasi: Syria Deserves Solidarity and Stability

Vatican Representative to the UN Urges International Community to Aid Syria

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By Junno Arocho

GENEVA, Switzerland, SEPT. 17, 2012 ( In an address to the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the UN offices there, called on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to all displaced men, women and children as a result of the conflict ravaging the Middle Eastern nation.

Archbishop Tomasi cited a recent report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which reported an estimated 30,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict while an estimated 1.2 million Syrians have been displaced. “This violent conflict shows the futility of war as a means to resolve disagreements. It is appropriate that this Council should adopt the perspective of the victims in its resolve to promote human rights and to uphold humanitarian law,” he said. 

“Respect for the fundamental rights of the victims of this conflict is, in fact, the road that can lead to healing human relations and to peace, an indispensable prerequisite for negotiations and an effective response to the expectations of the people for a democratic new beginning.”

The conflict in Syria has been a matter of deep concern for the Holy See, a matter which Pope Benedict XVI addressed in his recent visit to Lebanon this past weekend. “Even though it seems hard to find solutions to the various problems that affect the region,” the Pope said, “we cannot resign ourselves to violence and to the aggravation of tensions. The commitment to dialogue and to reconciliation must be a priority for all the parties concerned and must be supported by the international community.”

The Italian prelate urged the United Nations to put selfish interests aside and “ support the political process for a cessation of violence” in a show of solidarity not only to the people of Syria, but to the whole of the Middle East. The archbishop also echoed the Holy Father’s call for an end to the importation of arms and he appealed to journalists to report on the situation “with fairness and complete information so that public opinion may more easily grasp the futility of violence.»

Concluding his address, Archbishop Tomasi once again warned UN representatives that in not aiding the Syrian people, the international community would effectively “miss a historical opportunity for progress. “The people of Syria and the Middle East deserve support and solidarity in their moment of need. The promotion of all human rights is an effective and indispensable strategy for the success of their struggle for peace and social conviviality,” he said. 

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