The announcement of a January 22, 2014 date for the Geneva II talks on the future of Syria is a ray of hope for Open Doors’ advocacy efforts for Christians in Syria and gives added impetus to the Save Syria campaign.
More than 280 000 people from over 70 countries have signed Open Doors’ Save Syria 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.
On Tuesday, December 10 —International Human Rights Day—they will present all the signatures 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 South Africa, Open Doors delegates will meet with US diplomats on Tuesday to meet and further discuss the situation in Syria, and also hand over the petition signed by concerned South African Christians, but also those around the world.
Gerrit Coetzee, CEO of Open Doors South Africa, 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 on Syria. Now we have a date for talks in Geneva. 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.”
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?”
The Open Doors Save Syria campaign is one answer to his question.