For Immediate Release
March 10, 2016
Contact: Jonathan Tippi
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
(703) 739-5920 or (800)536-5920
Group Calls on United Nations to Preserve Christian Presence in Syria, Delivers Nearly 40,000 Petitions to Ban Ki-moon
Washington, D.C. – Solidarity with the Persecuted Church(SPC), a Washington DC-based non-profit which provides assistance to the Christian Church where she faces persecution, today delivered to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon petitions signed by 37,500 individuals calling on the UN to include Syria’s one million Christians in the peace talks soon to get underway in Geneva. Currently, the UN-supervised peace talks are limited to the Assad government and representatives of anti-Assad opposition groups, neither of which can speak for the interests of Christians living in Syria.
“The peace talks are intended to write a new constitution for Syria, and in effect create a new nation,” SPC president Steven Wagner said. “Why should the future of Syria be decided only by those waging war?”
Prior to the civil war which began in 2011, there were two million Christians living in Syria. Christians and other religious minorities are especially vulnerable in the resolution of this civil war. “There is no element of the opposition genuinely committed to preserving a Christian presence in Syria,” said Wagner. “If the Assad regime is replaced imprudently by some constellation of only opposition forces, there will be no Christian presence left in Syria. That is why Solidarity with the Persecuted Church undertook the petition, to bring to the attention of United Nations officials the dangers faced by Syria’s remaining Christians.
The petition, which will be delivered to Mr. Moon, reads in part:
I note with grave concern the absence of any representative of the interests of the one million Christians currently residing in Syria. Christians and other religious minorities must not be excluded from negotiations over the future of Syria simply because they are not armed belligerents.”
Neither the government nor the accredited opposition can speak for the Christians of Syria. There is no element of the opposition genuinely committed to the toleration of a Christian presence in Syria. Therefore, if the Assad regime is replaced imprudently by some constellation of opposition forces, there will be no Christian presence in Syria.
For more information or to schedule and interview with Mr. Wagner, please contact Jonathan Tippi at (703)739-5920. ##