Turning Up the Volume for Syrian Christians

by Gerry Lynch last modified 05 Dec, 2013 12:42 PM

Christian NGO asks people to sign petition to safeguard the Christian community and secure a future for Syrians of all faiths.

Turning Up the Volume for Syrian Christians

Bombed out vehicles in Aleppo. Photo by the Voice of America.

News from Syria seems to get ever darker. More than 120,000 people have now died in the civil war, with 2 million fleeing the country and a further 2 million displaced within it. This week saw the kidnap of 12 Orthodox nuns from a convent 50 miles outside Damascus.

Yet the announcement of a 22 January 2014 date for the Geneva II talks on the future of Syria is a ray of hope.

Christian NGO and Ministry, Open Doors, has been conducting the Save Syria campaign to focus international attention on the plight of Syria’s Christians, in particular, but also on the need for freedom and human rights for Syrian’s of all faiths as part of any stable settlement.

They have organised a petition urging all those with influence and power to do everything possible to protect the lives, livelihoods and freedoms of all the people of Syria and in particular safeguard the future of the Christian communities.

Already over 270,000 people from more than 70 countries have signed. By next Tuesday —International Human Rights Day—they hope to have 500,000 signatures that will be presented simultaneously in New York to the UN missions of the five permanent members of the Security Council, and to many of their embassies across the world. In the UK a request has gone in to present the petition to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

Stephen Rand, Advocacy Director for Open Doors UK & Ireland, explains that the campaign has been designed to ensure that the voices of Christians in Syria, particularly vulnerable and targeted in this terrible catastrophe, are heard.

“It’s all about turning up the volume,” he explains, “Each signature on the Save Syria petition has been a voice added to the global chorus of support for Christians in Syria.”

He also sees signs of hope. “In August we were anticipating US air strikes. Now we have a date for talks in Geneva.”

Following the recent massacre in Sadad, Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh issued a challenge to Christians around the world saying, “We have shouted out to the world, but no-one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers?"

Stephen added “When a Christian mother in Damascus asks ‘Why does no-one care that Christians are dying?’ we can tell her there are those who care.

“Signing a petition may not seem like a big step, but if it shows the major world governments that there is a body of ordinary people across the world who care about Syria’s Christians, it potentially changes the political game.”

Sign the petition at: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/savesyria

Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #SaveSyria.

View powerful images of the conflict posted on Twitter.

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