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

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

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

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

The full statement from the Church leaders follows:

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

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

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

We are concerned that, should diplomatic initiatives fail and theopposition groups achieve success in securing support for arms, theviolence could escalate still further. Our prayers are for a haltto the bloodshed and for diplomacy and mediation to offer a wayforward for the Syrian people.

As Christian communities we are also concerned for the SyrianChristian churches and communities that represent a minority in theland. With them we long for a nation in which all can live insecurity 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 ReformedChurch

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