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Statement on situation in Syria

Statement of the general secretary of the World Council of Churches on situation in Syria

16 April 2018

This document is also available in Arabic (pdf, 74 KB)


Geneva, 16 April 2018

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and its fellowship of member churches and ecumenical partners, journeying together on a pilgrimage of justice and peace, are deeply saddened and dismayed that after almost seven years of bloody conflict, Syria and its people continue to be the victims of unremitting violence and brutality. The international community must find a way to break the vicious cycle of violence that has already led to the greatest humanitarian tragedy since the Second World War, resulting in the deaths of more than 400.000 people, rendering more than 13.5 million people in need of aid and assistance inside Syria, and causing more than 5 million people to flee the country as refugees and 6.1 million people to be displaced internally.

Throughout the course of this human-made catastrophe, the WCC has always spoken out against the war and raised its voice for a just peace. We reiterate our strongly-held views that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Syria A just and sustainable peace for all Syrians can only be brought about through a political solution.

The WCC deplores the fact that atrocities are still being perpetrated against civilians. The UN Security Council has repeatedly failed to adopt sufficiently strong and consistent measures to put an end to these atrocities, to implement a durable ceasefire, to ensure respect for international law and accountability for all those who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the use of chemical weapons.

Today, with regard to the tragic escalation of the situation in Syria, the WCC reiterates what it has called for many times: an immediate ceasefire, unconditional humanitarian access to all regions in Syria, the commitment of all parties to respecting international law and to seeking peace through dialogue and a political process rather than by armed force, the resumption of the UN-led Geneva peace process, and the prompt return in safety and dignity for all civilians who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and lands.

WCC member churches in Syria and the region will have an important role to play in healing wounded memories and in bringing all Syrians together in a common narrative, for the preservation of Syria's rich diversity and the restoration of social cohesion. In this, the WCC assures the churches in Syria that the ecumenical family will accompany them together with the whole people of Syria on this path, in working for a just peace and for human dignity.

We hope and pray that an end to the suffering of the Syrian people will be delayed no longer.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General  Secretary
World Council of Churches

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