Canada Condemns Abduction of Archbishops in Syria

April 25, 2013 - Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador to the Office of Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:

“Canada condemns the abduction of Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi) of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Archdiocese, both of Aleppo, Syria. Their eminences were returning to Syria from Antioch, Turkey, where they had reportedly carried out humanitarian work during the holy season of Great Lent. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the family of the driver, who was reportedly killed during the abduction.

“On behalf of all Canadians who value freedom of religion, we call for the immediate release of these bishops.

“Through this difficult and violent period in Syria, one that has claimed the lives of too many innocent civilians, Canada is committed to a democratic transition. We will continue to express the need for the respect and promotion of human rights, democracy and religious freedom. This is essential so that all Syrians, regardless of religion and including Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians, can contribute to Syria’s development without fear of violence.

“Canada will continue to work with the people of Syria and the international community to bring an end to the violence and to support all those who risk their lives to achieve a stable, democratic, pluralist Syria in which freedom of religion is upheld.”

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