Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD has called on the international community to heed the warning regarding the increased persecution of Christians, which was highlighted by Pope Francis in his Easter Sunday address. Deputy Smith has successfully sought a special meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs on the persecution of Christians last Wednesday in Leinster House. He has called for this meeting to be held as soon as possible in light of the extreme violence being witnessed by Christians in Africa and the Middle East.
Deputy Smith commented: “The latest appalling massacre by Islamist militants at Garissa University in Kenya which left 148 people dead is a chilling reminder of the dangers Christians face in our world. It is estimated that the number of Christians murdered because of their faith has doubled in recent years with over 2000 killed in 2013 alone. The increasing violence experienced by all faiths in the Middle East and Africa is to be deplored. The specific targeting of any human being because of their faith is appalling.
“Through Parliamentary Questions and at the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, I have consistently been raising the persecutions of Christians since I was appointed as Fianna Fáil’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. I have asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to raise this matter at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in the past and am calling on him to work with our EU and UN allies to seek a solution to the persistent threat against Christians in Africa and the Middle East. Of course, the safety of innocent Christians would be increased if peace was established in countries currently experiencing violence verging on civil war, particularly in Syria.
“On my request, the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs has agreed to hold a special meeting on the persecution of Christians. I hope this meeting will go some way to raise the awareness of these people’s plight and focus the mind of the Minister in his dealings with the UN and EU on this matter.”