Frankfurt am Main, November 26th 2016. On Saturday (November 26th) the synod of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) called on those with political responsibility in Germany and Europe to reinforce efforts for peace in Syria. … read more …
In a resolution at the end of their autumn meeting in Frankfurt am Main, the 140 delegates appealed, among other things, “for a strengthening of the peace process under the responsibility of the United Nations and the inclusion of local civil peace initiatives”. In addition, pressure on the states involved in the war in Syria, such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the USA and other countries, should be increased so that “they end their policy of escalation in Syria”.
Make family reunion possible
The countries bordering on Syria should also reopen their borders for refugees and orderly ways should be found so that more refugees from those countries can be received in Germany and Europe. In its resolution, the synod expressed special concern “that the entry of family members to join Syrian refugees in Germany is being increasingly restricted at present”. This was “intolerable for the families concerned and made integration more difficult”. Therefore the synod demanded that the reunion of family members of Syrians living in Germany be made fundamentally possible.
Mobilise civil society
In this statement entitled “Peace in Syria is possible”, the synod also recalled the basic conviction of Christians “that peace cannot be won with weapons”. In view of the “increasingly catastrophic situation and the unending suffering of the people in Syria”, the synod also welcomed the numerous initiatives of churches and civil society “which refuse to accept this war silently”. As a positive example, reference was made to the project “Trauerflor für Syrien – Stoppt das Morden in Syrien” (Mourning band for Syria – Stop the killing in Syria) with an on-line petition in the Protestant deanery of Rheingau-Taunus. The initiative of the Minister-President of the Rhineland-Palatinate, Ms. Malu Dreyer, for a common minute of silence and the related appeal of the churches for prayers for peace were also emphasised.
Activate church congregations
In the middle of November, the president of the church of Hesse and Nassau, Volker Jung, had already called on the congregations of the EKHN to participate in prayers and action for peace in Syria (link to the appeal of the church president: http://www.ekhn.de/aktuell/detailmagazin/news/aufruf-zu-friedensgebeten-leid-in-syrien-endlich-beenden.html)
Synod resolution of November 26th 2016: “Peace in Syria is possible”
In view of the increasingly catastrophic situation and the unending suffering of the people in Syria, the synod welcomes the numerous initiatives in the church and civil society which refuse to accept this war silently, such as the project “Trauerflor für Syrien / Stoppt das Morden in Syrien” (Mourning band for Syria / Stop the killing in Syria) in the deanery of Rheingau-Taunus, the initiative of the Minister-President of the Rhineland-Palatinate for a common minute of silence and the appeal of the churches to offer prayers for peace.
The synod recalls the basic conviction of Christians that peace cannot be won with weapons. It calls upon those with political responsibility in Germany and Europe:
- To strengthen the peace process under the responsibility of the United Nations and to support and, more than in the past, to include local initiatives which are working for peaceful change and a future in peace and justice;
- To exert pressure on the states involved in the war, such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the USA and other countries, to put an end to their escalation policy so that humanitarian aid becomes possible;
- Not to allow any export of armaments to those involved in the war and to make every effort to prevent the supply of weapons;
- To provide support for the countries bordering on Syria, which have thus far received the overwhelming majority of the Syrian refugees, so that they are able to reopen their borders for refugees and grant them refuge in human dignity;
- To create orderly ways for a generous reception in Germany of Syrian refugees from those countries and from the war zone and to commit themselves emphatically to solidarity in the reception of refugees in the European Union;
- To reactivate the federal and regional reception programmes for refugees from Syria and other countries.
The synod expresses special concern about the present, constantly increasing restrictions on the possibilities for family members of Syrian refugees in Germany to be reunited with them. This is intolerable for the families concerned and makes integration more difficult. The synod demands that it be made fundamentally possible for family members to join Syrians already living in Germany.
The synod expresses its thanks for the personal commitment and numerous initiatives in the congregations and deaneries and asks that they repeatedly bring the war in Syria and the suffering of its people to public attention and that they identify themselves with these demands.
Frankfurt am Main, November 26th 2016 Rev. Volker Rahn, Press Officer
Download Resolution as pdf-File: pm-149-16-syrien-resolution-engl