On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I express my deep pain over the massacre of innocent people and especially children that took place last Sunday in Taldou village, in the area of Houla, near Homs, in Syria. Together with the churches in our fellowship, we pray that our Lord receives the victims in His mercy, and keeps their families and beloved ones in His Love, granting them courage and patience in their grieving.

We, as churches, cannot but condemn this inhumane act and manifest our feelings of solidarity with the families of the victims, mourning their beloved ones. We also pray for the whole Syrian people that our Lord may protect them and accompany them in their longing for dignity and freedom.

The cycle of violence in Syria has been going on for more than a year, and the number of innocent civilian persons killed, wounded and displaced has reached an unbearable level. Several times, the WCC has urgently called on the army and other government security agencies in Syria to cease the indiscriminate use of force, ensuring the citizens’ right to free assembly and expression. The government of Syria, as all governments, has an obligation to protect its own citizens, and to protect their fundamental human rights and freedoms. The WCC has also called on all other parties to refrain from using violence, and urgently reiterates its call today. 

What happened in the area of Houla two days ago during a protest is morally and ethically unacceptable, as is the case with previous violence in Homs and other areas. Those who are responsible for this massacre and other atrocities should be brought to justice. The WCC urges the international community to fully support the UN efforts to bring peace and to put an end to the cycle of violence.  

During this Blessed Pentecost Season, where Christians all over the world realise “the mighty acts of God and the power of God to transform them and their world,” (Pentecost 2012 message of the presidents of WCC), the WCC reiterates its deep condolences to the bereaved families of the Houla massacre, as well as to the Syrian people, praying and hoping that peace with justice will prevail soon in their country.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary, WCC