Christians & Kurds Form Coalition in Syria
By Ann Buwalda – Jubilee Campaign – MESOP – 2014-01-23 – Jubilee Campaign USA and Jubilee Campaign Netherlands are jointly announcing with Law & Liberty Trust the alliance of the Syriacs and Kurds of Syria for the strategic purpose of representing both minorities at the negotiation table in Geneva. We are also revealing the new initiative for the Christian Coalition for Syria which will bring together global Christian entities to create a relevant support front for Christians in Syria. On this day of the “Geneva II” talks on Syria, we are writing to ask for your participation and support for this newly formed movement called the Christian Coalition for Syria (CCFS) and its goals.
The alliance between the Syriacs/Christians and Kurds represents a total of up to 5 million citizens in Syria, which is almost one-quarter of the Syrian population. Until now, this significant population has been deprived of any relevant participation at the Geneva I and II negotiations. By joining forces, Syriacs and Kurds want to enforce representation in decisions about post-war Syria. The Syriac National Council of Syria and the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council will officially announce their alliance at a press conference on January 23, 2014, in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference will be facilitated by Jubilee Campaign Netherlands.
The new joint initiative, Christian Coalition For Syria, hopes to influence world powers and other governmental and inter-governmental organizations to ensure that Syrian Christians (Syriacs) have meaningful representation at the Geneva II talks and beyond. We believe that the best representatives of Syriacs at this time are members of the Syriac National Council of Syria (SNCS), a coalition of Syriacs living inside and outside Syria.
Joining the CCFS or supporting its goals is a tangible and concrete step Christian religious and advocacy organizations can take toward finding a solution for the Syrian crisis that enables Syriacs to remain in their ancestral lands, inhabited for thousands of years before the coming of Christ. The Syrian Christian community is pleading for the support of the worldwide church at this critical time. They need representation at the peace conference so they can lobby for rights for Syriacs and other minority religious/ethnic groups. Stability in Syria is essential for regional peace and is in the national security interests of the United States and many other nations.
Many groups and members of the U.S. Congress have noted the disproportionate adverse impact of the Syrian civil war on Syriacs, who once constituted over 12% of the Syrian population. They have experienced widespread genocidal attacks, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes, desecration of churches and destruction of their homes and businesses, confiscation of property, kidnapping and death threats, including threats of execution if they do not convert to Islam. Syriacs have been displaced from entire areas and large cities where they once lived in peace with neighbors of different faiths.
We believe that the SNCS’s presence at Geneva II is essential if there is to be a lasting peace and stability for Syria. Their goals are an immediate cease fire and the formation of a new, pluralistic governmental structure founded on the principles of equal rights, democracy, and the rule of law, giving rights to all Syrians regardless of faith or ethnic background. Similar goals have recently been endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Vatican, the World Evangelical Alliance, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Syrian church leaders, thousands who have signed petitions circulated by the CCFS, and many others.
We hope that the goals of the CCFS will be endorsed by Christian organizations and religious freedom advocacy groups from around the world and by other like-minded individuals and organizations. We seek your participation in an overall campaign (which does not necessarily require participation in the CCFS) to persuade world powers to allow representation by members of the SNCS and other Christian and minority groups in the peace negotiations.
Date: 23 January 2014
Time: 11:00 am-12:00 am
Location: Club Suisse de la Presse, Route de Ferney 106, La Pastorale, 1202 Geneve, Switzerland
The Syriac National Council of Syria and the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council invite you to a press conference announcing the strategic collaboration between the organisations on Thursday, January 23 at 11:00 a.m. at the ‘Club Suisse de la Presse’.
This alliance represents a total of up to five million citizens or nearly one-quarter of the Syrian population. Until now, this relevant section of the population has been deprived of any relevant participation at the Geneva Conferences. Both Syrian President Assad’s regime and the Syrian opposition have refused them any representation at negotiations about the future of Syria-including the sessions scheduled to commence on 22 January 2014.
The Syriacs and the Kurds are determined to ensure that Geneva II will not become a repetition of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, in which the rights of ethnic and religious minorities were not adequately enforced. Democracy, freedom and common stability in Syria can only be achieved on the basis of equality of all citizens according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By joining forces, they seek to guarantee representation in decisions about post-war Syria.
The Press Conference will also introduce a second initiative from the Syriac National Council of Syria and the international human rights organization Jubilee Campaign: the Christian Coalition for Syria. This coalition brings together global Christian entities to create a relevant support front for Syriacs/Christians in Syria.
Speakers at the press conference:
- Bassam Ishak and Hanibal Yacoub on behalf of the Syriac National Council of Syria.
- Ilham Ahmad and Saleh Mohamed on behalf of the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council.
- Peter Bronsveld on behalf of the Christian Coalition for Syria.
The press conference will be webcasted live from 11:00 am local time (UTC +1:00) via www.pressclub.ch (click ‘Conference de presse en direct’)