German Protestant Kirchentag passes STP resolution on the protection of religious minorities in the Middle East

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SOCIETY FOR THREATENED PEOPLES – PRESS RELEASE Resolution passed: Kirchentag supports victims of religious persecution

STP: “Politics and churches must not ignore this call to action. Christians, Yazidis and other minorities need a safe home in the Middle East. This calls for reconstruction and dialogue – urgently!” In the course of the 37th German Protestant Church Day (Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag), a resolution by the STP was passed. The resolution – which is titled “Save lives by means of an interreligious dialogue by building future perspectives – in Germany and in the Middle East!” calls on the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland; EKD) and federal politics to step up the efforts to support religious minorities in the Middle East. “By passing this resolution, the visitors of the Kirchentag have clearly taken sides with the victims of religious persecution,” explained Lina Stotz, one of the STP’s experts on ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and nationalities. “Politics and the churches must not ignore such a call for action by such an important and large forum as the Kirchentag. Now, the words must be followed by actions to effectively protect the religious minorities of the Middle East.” In order to promote a peaceful interreligious coexistence in the Middle East, Germany should give priority to the relations between religious groups and the protection of minorities – in connection with development aid and regarding the country’s foreign policy towards Iraq and Syria. “What is needed are initiatives towards reconstruction and dialogue in order to provide the Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities in the Middle East with somewhere safe to stay or to return to,” Stotz stated. As long as this is not guaranteed, victims of persecution would have to be offered safe refuge in Germany, where religious diversity is a top priority. “Also, there must be no further arms exports to Turkey”, Stotz emphasized. “German weapons have contributed a great deal to the expulsion and persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Aramaeans, Alevis, Kurds, and other minorities, especially in the Syrian-Kurdish region of Afrin.” In addition to the STP, the resolution was also supported by His Excellency Bishop Anba Damian, Diocesan Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Northern Germany (Koptisch-Orthodoxe Kirche Norddeutschland) and Ali Ertan Toprak, President of the Federal Association of Immigrant Associations in Germany. On June 22, 2019, Ali Ertan Toprak read out the resolution at the Kirchentag in the context of the event “Wie politisch darf Religion sein? Visionen für die Gesellschaft”. The full text of the resolution, further information on the topic, and our detailed human rights report on the situation of Christians in Iraq and Syria (in German) can be found as attachment or at: Dr. Kamal Sido Advisor ethnic, religious, linguistic Minorities and Nationalities Fon +49 551 49906-18