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ICC NOTE: Religious leaders issue a statement on the human right to worship according to your own beliefs.

Christian religious leaders release statement on the status of Jerusalem

For the full article go to Asia News

Oct 9 2006

The heads of local Christian Churches point out that unilateral actions used so far have brought neither peace to the holy city nor a normal life to its residents. They call for a committee to look into the city’s future status, which must be guaranteed by the international community.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Political leaders must grant Jerusalem a distinct status guaranteed by the international community that would uphold the rights of the “two peoples in her and the three faith communities” if we want make the city to “a true sign of the presence of God and of His peace among all.” This, in a nutshell, is the thrust of an appeal made and signed by 13 heads and patriarchs of the Christian communities in the Holy Land .

In their September 29 statement the religious leaders note that in light of recent violent events in the region peace requires shared decisions by the two peoples—Israelis and Palestinians—that respect the rights of believers of all faiths. And any agreement would have to include a ‘special status’ for the Holy City .

Titled “The Status of Jerusalem”, the press release demands the city enjoy a special status, which would include:

– “The human right of freedom of worship and of conscience for all, both as individuals and as religious communities [. . .].

– “Equality of all her inhabitants before the law, in coordination with the international resolutions.

– “Free access to Jerusalem for all, citizens, residents or pilgrims, at all times, whether in peace or in war. Therefore Jerusalem should be an open city.

– “The rights of property ownership, custody and worship which the different Churches have acquired throughout history should continue to be retained by the same communities. These rights, which are already protected in the Status Quo of the Holy Places according to historical “firmans” and other documents, should continue to be recognized and respected [. . .].

– “The various Christian Holy Places in the city, wherever they are, must remain united in geography, whatever the solution envisaged.”

The religious leaders’ decision to speak out stems from the increasing tendency of the political authorities to unilaterally decide the city’s fate and status. “The access of our faithful and our personnel to Jerusalem is ever-more difficult.”