Syrian Peace Talks must include Christian representatives
February 24th UPDATE: The Syrian Government has stated that they will accept the conditions of a ceasefire between themselves and Opposition forces, which has been brokered by the US and Russia. The truce is to go into effect this Saturday (Feb. 27th), and, of course, this is a reason to give thanks. However, the Peace Talks, which aim at a permanent, long-term solution, and which were to be held at the end of this month in Geneva, are reportedly being pushed back to March. AND, crucially, there has still been no movement to include Christian and minority religious voices at those Talks.
Therefore, we must now redouble our efforts to bring this demand to the UN.
February 20th UPDATE: The first meeting of the task force that was created to discuss a cease-fire in Syria has been canceled. The negotiating parties, which did not include Christian representatives from Syria, did not meet in Geneva as planned on Friday. "I cannot realistically call new Geneva talks for 25th of February," said Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations special envoy to Syria. It's now more important than ever that Christian and minority religious voices are represented at the bargaining table!
The United Nations is helping to facilitate Peace Talks between the Syrian government led by Bashar Al-Assad and Syrian opposition groups, who have been engaged in a bloody and destructive civil war since 2011. These talks began on February 1, but were canceled on February 3 and rescheduled for the end of this month.
Now, with a temporary ceasefire being brokered by the US and Russia, the Peace Talks - which are separate to, and which would succeed, the recent ceasefire negotiations by aiming at a long-term solution for Syria - are reportedly being pushed back to March [Please see the link below, under "For More Information".]
Of grave concern, however, is that, still, NO Christian Syrian representatives have been invited to the Peace Talk negotiations. Neither the Government nor the Opposition can speak for the Christians of Syria. Religious minorities should not be excluded from negotiations over the future of Syria simply because they are not armed belligerents.
Of the nearly two million Christians living in Syria prior to the civil war, most have been subjected to extermination campaigns at the hands of ISIS and other radical Islamist militias--less than one half now remain in Syria. While Christians lived in relative safety under the Assad regime, a peace agreement that does not represent Syrian Christians may result in a political arrangement that is hostile to minority religious groups, such as Christians.
There is no element of the opposition genuinely committed to the toleration of Christian presence in Syria. If Assad is imprudently replaced by some constellation of Opposition forces, there will be no Christian presence in Syria at all. Therefore, the Peace Talks MUST include minority religious representation, including from legitimate Syrian Christian leaders.
Sign the petition asking Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to include Christian representatives in the Syrian Peace Talks!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sign this petition now!
Include Syrian Christians in Peace Talks