UPF Interfaith Declaration on Peace in Syria
Amman, Jordan October 13, 2013
Gathered in Amman, Jordan, on October 11-13, 2013 for the Interfaith Consultation on
“The Prospects for Dialogue and Reconciliation in Syria” sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, we, the participants, being persons from a wide range of religious and spiritual backgrounds, professional fields, and from many nations – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Monaco, Palestine, Russia, Sudan, Syria, UAE, UK, USA – committed to peace and human development for all, and,Acknowledging that the conflict in Syria has escalated at an alarming rate, leaving more than 100,000 people dead, and more than 2 million refugees and nearly 4 million internally displaced persons, spawning a human disaster of enormous magnitude, and
Recognizing that on August 21, 2013, approximately 1400 men, women and children were killed as a result of chemical weapons, and,
Realizing that the world’s leading powers, including the permanent member states of the UN Security Council, find themselves at a critical juncture, that may lead to either a dramatic breakthrough in international cooperation, or to widespread and growing threats to human security, and,
Applauding the efforts made by King Abdullah II of Jordan with the Amman Message, Common Word, and the World Interfaith Harmony Week; Pope Francis calling for prayer, fasting and an end to the violence in Syria; as well as other worthy and outstanding initiatives, such as are being carried out by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz’ International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Religions for Peace, the UNESCO’s Culture of Peace initiative, the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations, and other initiatives,
Support the United Nations and multilateral efforts to resolve the crisis through peaceful
Call upon the United Nations and the major powers to recognize the importance of religious voices and religious leaders as allies in the effort to work out a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Call upon leaders of the world’s great faith traditions, especially Muslims, Jews, and Christians, and their respective leaders to come together in the search for a solution that brings an end to the bloodshed in Syria.
Call upon the various denominations and sects within particular religions to work to
overcome barriers and intra-religious divisions and disputes that stand in the way of cooperative action for peace in Syria, the region and the world.
Call upon political leaders and civil society leaders, along with religious leaders and
believers from all the faith traditions, to come together in support of peace in Syria, offering humanitarian assistance as well as a wider range of “soft power” initiatives that may open a way for a sustainable peace, including but not limited to:
- Peace education programs
- Education for refugee children
- Educational programs that promote interfaith understanding
- Empowerment of women through education and respect for the rights of women
- Interreligious relief efforts
- Promotion of a culture of peace
- Fundraising for relief efforts to help the refugees
Call up the government of Syria and the opposition forces to not only cooperate fully in the dismantling of chemical weapons, but to also bring a speedy end to the violence, by initiating an immediate cease-fire; to negotiate the release of hostages; and to come to an agreement to hold elections no later than May of 2014, with a commitment to abide by the results that are assured of legitimacy by objective international observers under supervision of the United Nations and major stakeholders.
Call upon UPF, as well as other NGOs and faith-based organizations, to convene – as a supplemental “Track II” consultative/advisory body that can support and augment the governmental deliberations and outcomes – an international interfaith, academic, civil society conference at the time of the Geneva II deliberations expected to be held this November.
We emphasize the point that, whereas governments naturally have their realm of responsibility in the area of peace and security, the religions should not be excluded from deliberations, neither by governments nor by their own hesitancy or resistance to interfaith cooperation. In addition, the religions must stand firmly against all forms of radical and violent extremism, while at the same time upholding their spiritual traditions, virtues, and good practices.
In conclusion, we also encourage UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the General Assembly, and the Security Council to work with greater urgency to establish, with the support of the major faith traditions, a specialized interfaith agency, commission or council within the United Nations system made up of spiritual elders, leaders and clerics from a wide range of religious traditions.