Church leaders call for UN action on 1st anniversary of Syria uprising

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have added their voices to the growing call for the UN Security Council to demonstrate a united opposition to the violent actions of the Syrian regime.

Since the start of mass protests one year ago, thousands of people are thought to have been killed in the uprising.

Christians across Britain are being urged to pray for the nation using this special prayer.

The full statement from the Church leaders follows:

We are dismayed by the Syrian Government's violent and unrestrained attacks on its own citizens, resulting in thousands of deaths and significant numbers of refugees flooding into neighbouring countries. Such action cannot possibly be justified.

UN Special Representative Kofi Annan's initiative with the Syrian government is crucial and deserves the undivided support of the international community. Given the tragic events of the past year, we call on Russia and China to accept that it is unjust for the Assad regime to continue to receive diplomatic and military support.

The United Nations Security Council must unequivocally condemn Syria's state-sanctioned attacks on its own people and we support the call by humanitarian and human rights groups for a Security Council resolution demanding an immediate end to the killing. All armed groups must allow unrestricted access of humanitarian agencies to those areas where people are currently without food, healthcare or education.

We are concerned that, should diplomatic initiatives fail and the opposition groups achieve success in securing support for arms, the violence could escalate still further. Our prayers are for a halt to the bloodshed and for diplomacy and mediation to offer a way forward for the Syrian people.

As Christian communities we are also concerned for the Syrian Christian churches and communities that represent a minority in the land. With them we long for a nation in which all can live in security and peace under the law.

Revd Leo Osborn
President of the Methodist Conference

Revd Dr Kirsty Thorpe
Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church

Revd Jonathan Edwards
General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain

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