Vatican: Children Suffer Most in Syrian Violence

GENEVA (CNS) — The Vatican has reiterated its call for negotiations to end the violence in Syria, saying that children are suffering the most.

“Silencing the guns is the priority,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to U.S. agencies in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council during a 29 May debate on Syria.

This means people must reject “personal revenge” and the “inordinate ambitions of dominance by any group,” Archbishop Tomasi said.

Syrian rebels are demanding the resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Both sides have been accused of atrocities.

Calling the violence in Syria “the terrain of the violation of all human rights,” Archbishop Tomasi said the tragedy risks intensifying regional and global conflicts.

He also cited statistics from the more than two years of conflict: Tens of thousands killed; 1.5 million Syrians have fled to other countries; more than 4 million people have lost their homes.

“The way forward is not by a military intensification of the armed conflict but by dialogue and reconciliation,” the archbishop said, noting that the Vatican has continually insisted that only peaceful negotiations with all parties can return the situation to normal.

Archbishop Tomasi also said that children in refugee camps and in conflict areas “suffer the most of the consequences of violence and call for generous solidarity on the part of the international community. Only in this way can they and their families hope again for a normal existence.”

He also said unaccompanied minors needed particular attention so they do not become victims of trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

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