Christian Survival in Middle East 'in Question'

Christians who had fled the unrest in Syria and Iraq carry placards and wave flags during a gathering in front the U.N. house in Beirut on Feb. 28. (CNS photo/Nabil Mounzer, EPA)

In a joint statement, representatives of more than 50 countries have recognized that Christians are particularly endangered in the Middle East, and they called on the international community to reaffirm the human right to freedom of religion.

The violence carried out by terrorist groups "creates the risk of complete disappearance for the Christians" in the region, they said.

Advertisement

The statement, submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva March 13, was sponsored by the delegations of the Holy See, Lebanon and Russia. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Iraq and Israel were among the 52 signatories.

Ongoing conflicts in the region have been "disastrous for the entire population" and have "seriously threatened" the existence of "many religious communities," the statement said. People continue to fall victim "to barbaric acts of violence" and "churches and ancient shrines of all religions have been destroyed."

But the statement then zeroed in on the Christian situation.

"Christians are now especially affected," said the statement. "These days even their survival is in question."

"There are more and more reasons to fear seriously for the future of the Christian communities that have more than 2,000 years of existence in this region, where Christianity has its full place and began its long history," the statement said.

The signatories called on the international community to support the human rights of Christians and other religious and ethnic communities in the Middle East and to work toward building "a culture of peaceful coexistence."

"A future without the different communities in the Middle East will run the risk of new forms of violence, exclusion and the absence of peace and development," they warned.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Father Michael Nixon and parishioner work a volunteer table at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Fla. Photo by Atena Sherry.
Much like New Orleans’ Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina, the low-income neighborhoods east of Panama City, where St. Dominic is located, were especially hard-hit by the storm. Now residents here are desperate for help.
Atena SherryOctober 18, 2018
“I believe there are adequate, alternative options for true women’s health care out there, and Planned Parenthood is not needed,” said Alisha Fox, a health and wellness coach at a Catholic fertility center in Chicago.
Colleen ZeweOctober 18, 2018
 Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa checks out the name badge of Nathanael Lamataki, a youth delegate from the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, as they leave a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Cardinal Souraphiel highlighted the role globalization plays in connecting young people in unjust ways.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 18, 2018
The pope said he would visit North Korea “if an official invitation arrives.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 18, 2018