- The Permanent Mission
- Greece in the UN-Geneva
Intervention of the Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN and other Organizations in Geneva, Alexis Alexandris, during the discussion of the session “The Politicization of Religion and the Rights of Religious Minorities: the case of Syria”
The World Council of Churches (WCC) held a consultation in Geneva on 16-18 Sept. 2013 to facilitate dialogue on issues related to religious minorities ant the politicization of religion, which contributes to discrimination and persecution of religious minorities around the world. (http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/dialogue-on-politicization-of-religion-and-rights-of-minorities)
Intervention of the Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN and other Organizations in Geneva, Alexis Alexandris, during the discussion of the session “The Politicization of Religion and the Rights of Religious Minorities: the case of Syria”.
Greece is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in Syria and the grave violations of the human rights, both of Christian and Muslim Syrians. It is extremely unfortunate that in Syria today, religion has been politicized in the worse possible manner.
We are particularly alarmed by cases of looting and destruction of places of worship as well as the recent incident of the kidnapping by jihadists of the high-ranking Christian clergymen, ie. the Greek Orthodox of Aleppo Paul and the Syrian Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo Gregorius.
The historic Christian community of Syria, comprised roughly of 10 per cent of the total population of the country, has been regularly targeted by extreme religious Islamic groups active in the war torn Syria. The recent attack on the ancient village of Maaloula with its 2000 residents who continue to speak Aramaic, a biblical language that Jesus is believed to have spoken, reflect the religious undertones of the Syrian conflict.
We call on the World Council of Churches to contribute to putting an end to violence and to protect all religious and historical sites which testify for the multi-confessional character of Syria.
We have repeatedly raised the humanitarian aspect of the Syrian issue in the multilateral basis, including in the discussions at the Human Rights Council here in Geneva, and we are determined to keep this important issue high in the agenda.