Ban appeals for safety of missing Orthodox Christian nuns in Syria

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file photo)

9 December 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed for the safety of 12 nuns who went missing from a convent in the Syrian town of Ma’aloula and all those who may be detained against their will in the strife-torn nation.

Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement that the Secretary-General remains “deeply troubled” by the targeting of places of worship and religious representatives in Syria’s conflict.

“These concerns are most recently underscored by the situation of the 12 nuns who went missing from Saint Tecla Orthodox Convent in Ma’aloula,” he said. “The Secretary-General joins in the appeals for their safety and well-being, and that of all persons who may be detained against their will in Syria.

“The United Nations rejects any targeting of persons based on their religion, community or ethnic affiliation. Civilians throughout Syria are at risk and must be protected.”

Media reports say the nuns were taken by force a week ago from their convent by opposition fighters, while a Syrian opposition activist said they were taken away for their own safety.

The violence in Syria is continuing unabated since fighting first broke out in March 2011 between the Government and opposition forces seeking the ouster of President Bashar Al-Assad. The conflict has already claimed over 100,000 lives and driven over 6 million people from their homes.


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