4,000 people signed plea urging the United Nations to intervene while a systematic genocide of Christians is taking place. On Friday, April 29, advocates delivered the signed pleas. The United Nations was urged to declare a systematic genocide, occurring against Christians and other religious minorities.
Ignacio Arsuaga- President of CitizenGO which is an advocacy group says, “We’re here at the United Nations headquarters to file more than 400,000 signatures from citizens from all over the world asking the Security Council of the United Nations to declare what’s happening right now with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a genocide.”
In the petition the U.N. was urged to “take a step forward to protect Christians and other religious minorities that live there,” so that “religious freedom may prevail in that region of the world.” The petition was delivered to UN Secretary-General-Ban Ki-Moon’s office.
This petition was a part of a three day-long conference on international religious freedom, #WeAreN2016, or “we are all Nazarenes.” This conference was attended by renowned religious leaders like Nigerian Bishop Joseph Danlami Bagobiri and Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria.
The petition particularly specifically demanded that Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council should announce genocide for Christians and other religious victims of ISIS, and to implement a “mechanisms” in order to guard the victims of genocide and act against the perpetrators.
Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities “are victims of the deliberate infliction of life conditions that are calculated to bring about their physical destruction by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’: They are being murdered, beheaded, crucified, beaten, extorted, abducted, and tortured,” the petition added.
“So we are here to support our brothers and sisters, Christians and other believers that are suffering persecution, that are suffering killings, that are suffering discrimination in this part of the world, the Middle East,” Ignacio Arsuaga stated.
Archbishop Jeanbart went on to explain why it has become imperative for the United Nations to take action on the issue. “We are undergoing a real genocide,” he said of his diocese in Aleppo, “and we are afraid that they want to take us out of our life, but also of our country, of the place where we were born, where the Church was born.”
“There are two kinds of genocide, human genocide and Church genocide. Not only are people dying, but the Church itself is disappearing from Syria. The Church of the first Christians is now collapsing,” he said, noting that the first Syrian Christians were Jews from the Diaspora who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost, and were among the 3,000 baptized by Peter and the Apostles.”
“They went back to their cities and they began Christian life there, and they ministered to St. Paul when he converted to the faith. That’s why it’s very important to keep this Church alive,” he said.