Monday

26th Aug 2019

Rome bishops call on EU to protect Christians

  • Christians in far-flung places are under attack, the bishops say (Photo: wikipedia)

Italy's Roman Catholic bishops called on the European Union on Sunday (21 September) to put the persecutions of Christians on the agenda of the upcoming EU-India summit, warning against "Christianophobia" in many parts of the world.

"Today it touches the Catholics in India. Up until this summer the most dangerous country for the Christian community was Iraq ... Persecution is spreading like oil on water, the number of martyrs continues to grow in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and hunting down Christians is an insane and bloody idea that finds more and more followers," the bishops' newspaper Avvenire says in a front-page editorial.

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Hailing the US government's firm stance on violence in India, the paper of the Italian Bishops Conference said Europe "must urgently apply the right of humanitarian assistance to the relationship between the new and the old democracies."

The occasion is "at hand," say the Italian bishops - the upcoming EU-India summit to be held in Marseille on 29 September. "Is it too much to hope that on the agenda there can be also the question of violences against Christians?" asks the paper in a final remark.

According to the Asian Center for Human Rights (ACHR), over 50 persons, mainly Christians, have been killed in the Indian region of Orissa, after a Hindu leader was murdered on 23 August by unidentified gunmen, which prompted aggressive Hindu attacks against the Christian community.

Suhas Chakma, director of ACHR, stated that thousands of Christians have fled their villages and some 5,000 people are now living in seven relief camps at Chakapad, Tikabali. About 200 villages have been affected by the organized attacks and hundreds of churches have been burnt, he added.

The official EU-India summit agenda focuses on trade, climate and energy issues, as well as the world food situation and is to revise a joint action plan adopted in 2004.

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