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Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič Appeals to International Community to Help Syria

‘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.’

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

This was the appeal made to the international community by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, 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:

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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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