16 March 2009, 12:34
Patriarch Kirill urges PACE, UNESCO to give hope to Serbians in Kosovo
Moscow, March 16, Interfax – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has sent messages to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Luis Maria de Puig and UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura.
Patriarch Kirill reminded them that it will be five years on March 17 since the tragic developments in Kosovo and Metochia when radical nationalists started ethnic cleansing against Serbs, which he said resulted in the massive violation of human rights, hundreds of deaths, flows of refugees and the destruction of scores of churches and monasteries in the area.
The messages to the leaders of PACE and UNESCO express regret that international organizations failed to guarantee the protection of religious monuments of international significance enjoying UNESCO protection and also take sufficiently energetic action to restore the sanctuaries and guarantee the repatriation of Serbs.
The Patriarch praised the programs of the Council of Europe to restore part of the destroyed sanctuaries, but the scale of destruction requires even greater effort, he said.
"International organizations relying on the principles of human rights in their operations should pay special attention to the thousands of refugees and displaced persons. Their rights to return to their homes and to security have still not been guaranteed," he said.
The Patriarch urged PACE "to raise its voice to support the hapless victims of atrocities, to do their utmost to restore justice and bring hope to the hearts of people" in Kosovo.
The message to the UNESCO Director General praises the efforts made by the organization in restoring the destroyed Christian Orthodox monasteries and churches in Kosovo and Metochia and expresses the need to intensify concerted actions of the world community to guarantee the preservation of the unique spiritual and cultural legacy in Kosovo.
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