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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"The Christians and the Arab Spring II" Conference concludes, issues Amman Declaration

The participants in the Conference "Christians and the Impact of the Arab Spring II," issued a statement on Sunday, November 23, titled, “the Amman Declaration… a Roadmap to a Better Future for Christians in Arab Countries."

A total of 80 Christian figures representing various political, intellectual and religious spectrum in six Arab countries, namely Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Jordan. It was organized by Al Quds Center for Political Studies in collaboration with the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung and the Danish Danmission Foundation.

The statement said: "The participants--who took part in a series of regional and national conferences that tackled the challenges facing the Middle East Christians—realized a significant difference in the stature of Christians, their rights and freedoms among Arab countries which have different political systems and vary with regards to their emergence and development.”

Referring to what is taking place in Syria and Iraq in particular, the statement added: "Mass killings, forced displacement, targeting of churches and clergymen, and whatever falls within the framework of war crimes and crimes against humanity punishable by all heavenly religions have escalated in an unprecedented way in the region.”

The statement said: “The participants reviewed the phenomenon of migration and forced displacement rampant among Christians in these countries during the last 10 years, particularly since the escalation of protests and revolutions that swept the region in the last four years in the context of what has become known as the Arab Spring."

The participants expressed deep concern about the persistence of this phenomenon which augurs the loss of the region’s one of the most important historical components, and the deprivation of its peoples from this plurality which enriches its heritage and culture. They called for immediate action to restore the migrants and displaced Christian to their countries of origin being a major responsibility of the Arab societies with its political, partisan, civic and cultural components.

The statement included a "roadmap" for the next stage based on a common understanding of the challenges facing Christians in the region, where the participants agreed on a plan of action that encompasses several positions which include sending a message to the secretary general of the Arab League to enlist the issue of Christian Arabs, especially in Syria and Iraq, on the upcoming Arab summit agenda scheduled to be held in Cairo in March.

The statement also states that the participants decided to name their document “the Amman Declaration… a Roadmap to a Better Future for Christians in Arab Countries." They also agreed to form of a "follow-up committee" to implement the recommendations and tasks of the statement.

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