Ban urges Syrian conflicting parties to respect the religious obligation of Ramadan for at least a monthListen /
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all parties in Syria to respect the religious obligation of Ramadan for at least, at a minimum, one month.
In a Ramadan appeal for the people of Syria, the Secretary-General noted that Syrians are enduring a third Ramadan when their country is being torn apart by an ever-worsening civil war.
The Secretary-General says that "As the United Nations and others work actively to prepare the conditions for a successful Peace Conference on Syria, the Syrians themselves should use the holy month of Ramadan of the Year 1434 in the Islamic Calendar to make a symbolic but powerful contribution to open the way to the solution of the crisis in their country".
Secretary-General Ban says he's not calling for a contractual cease-fire or a negotiated truce. Nor is he referring to a measure limited to any one area.
Rather, the Secretary-General adds, he's calling "for every military unit of the regular army and the Free Syrian Army, for every person holding a gun, to stop fighting and offer this month of peace as a collective present to their people – and to do so across Syria".
The Secretary-General says he's aware that some may see his call as unrealistic, noting that lasting peace will only come through serious negotiation. But he explains he's convinced that the Syrian people have every right to ask this of all those who claim to be fighting in their name, adding these are the kinds of gestures that can build hope and momentum toward peace.
Secretary-General Ban also added to his appeal a call for the release of detainees, noting that reliable reports speak of hundreds, if not thousands, of women and children who are detained in various official and non-official detention centres across the country.
"The entire United Nations family is mobilized to help stop the violence and to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people”, Secretary-General Ban says.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.