Churches demand action on Aleppo
20 October 2016
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church in Wales, the
Church of Scotland, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church and
the United Reformed Church have released a statement calling upon
the Syrian and Russian Governments and other forces to stop their
bombardment of Aleppo.
The humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo has become a
tragedy. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de
Mistura, has stated that in the two weeks following the collapse of
the ceasefire, 376 people have been killed, one third of whom were
children, and a further 1266 were wounded. The international
humanitarian organisation Medicines Sans Frontieres said recently
that there have been 23 recorded attacks on Aleppo's eight
hospitals since the end of July. Seeking medical care has become a
danger in itself.
The statement below has been signed by leaders from the six
churches representing more than one million people in the UK.
The destruction of Aleppo must stop.
We are appalled by the attacks on civilians by the Syrian
Government, Russian and other forces. Life is a gift of God. The
targeting and killing of civilians can never be passed off merely
as a consequence of war. Aerial strikes on homes, hospitals and aid
convoys are never acceptable, under any circumstances.
The responsibility for such attacks lies first and
foremost with those who have carried them out. But the frequency of
such attacks in Syria also underlines a failure on the part of the
international community to uphold long-established principles
concerning the immunity of civilians in conflict. Member states of
the United Nations should seek to hold to account the parties
responsible for indiscriminate attacks on men, women, children,
hospitals, humanitarian and rescue workers, which could be
construed as war crimes.
The world cries out for an end to the death and destruction in
Syria that daily adds to the largest flight of refugees since the
Second World War. We join with our brothers and sisters of
other churches and other faiths in praying for the people of Syria.
We claim no simple solution to a complex political reality but
offer the simple message of our faith: that every life is valued by
God and that the slaughter must end now.
The signatories to the statement are:
The General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain - the
Revd Lynn Green.
The President of the Methodist Church - the Revd Dr Roger
The General Secretary of the United Reformed Church - the Revd
The Moderator for the Church of Scotland - the Right Revd Dr
Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain - Paul Parker
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon - the Right Revd John Davies.
Editors Notes and interviews
Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues
Team, is available for interview to discuss the Syrian conflict
from a faith perspective.
A briefing from the Joint Public Issues Team on Syria is available
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) combines the expertise of the
Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and
the Church of Scotland in the area of public issues. The Team aims
to enable our Churches to work together in living out the gospel of
Christ in the Church and in wider society. We aim to promote
equality and justice by influencing those in power and by
energising and supporting local congregations.
1) The Rt Revd John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon is Chair
of the Church in Wales International Group' and 'Bishop with
responsibility for Church and Society with the Church in