Vatican voices concern for Syria at UN special session

2011-12-03 Vatican Radio

“We need to take a look at what might happen in the near future in a country that is made up of Sunni and Shia Muslim of Alawite of Christian of Kurds and the Christian community is not a very small community. All these different groups need to find a way to live together without violence”, says Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, commenting on Friday’s resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council condemning Syria for “gross and systematic” violations by security forces. On Saturday at least 15 people died in fierce fighting between security forces and army rebels in northern Syria as violence intensified in the eighth month of unrest against President Bashar al-Assad. Syria faces deepening international and regional isolation, with the Arab League, the European Union and the United States piling on increasingly tough sanctions to pressure Damascus to stop the bloodshed and talk to its opponents. The United Nations' top human rights forum said Syrian violations included executions and the imprisonment of some 14,000 people. Speaking to Emer McCarthy, Archbishop Tomasi says: “The curse of the Middle East seems that everything is resolved by way of violence instead of dialogue and effort to live together in peace. The preoccupation not only of the Holy See but of the entire international community is to help and encourage, even through concrete measures, the people of Syria to find a path of reconciliation and a way of living together in mutual respect of the fundamental rights of everyone”. Listen: 00:06:10:49 Archbishop Tomasi addressed the UN Human Rights special session on Syria: Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva at the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Syria Geneva, 2 December 2011 Madame President, The Delegation of the Holy See follows with great concern the dramatic and growing episodes of violence in Syria which have caused many victims and grave suffering. On this occasion I wish to reiterate the repeated appeals of the Holy Father to the faithful to pray that the effort for reconciliation may prevail over division and resentment, and to the Authorities and all the citizens to spare no effort in the search for the common good and in the acceptance of legitimate aspirations for a future of peace and stability. Madame President, The events which have occurred in the past months in Syria have been born from the desire for a better future of economic well-being, justice, freedom and participation in public life and they point to the urgent necessity of real reforms in social, economic and political life. It is nevertheless highly desirable that these developments do not take place through intolerance, discrimination or conflict, and even less through violence, but rather through absolute respect for truth, for coexistence, for the legitimate rights of individuals and groups, as well as for reconciliation. Such principles must guide leaders while taking account of the aspirations of civil society as well as the instances of the international community. Madame President, The Delegation of the Holy See expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and prays for the recovery of the wounded. May peace soon prevail and allow a renewed society to look with hope to a future where the innate dignity of every person is respected.