ASIA/LEBANON - Lebanese Churches concerned about religious discrimination with regards to access to functions and public resources

Friday, 5 February 2016 discrimination  

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The Maronite Bishops express their concern over the imbalance that is being produced regarding access to public offices and state financial resources, with silent discrimination that see Christians penalized. The concern emerged during the last monthly meeting of the Assembly of Maronite Bishops, who met on Wednesday, February 3 at the patriarchal see in Bkerke, under the presidency of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai.
For years - denounce the Bishops - a silent erosion of the Christian presence in state roles is being produced, to the benefit of Shiite and Sunni components. Recently, obvious manifestations of this phenomenon took place in the hierarchy of the Ministry of Finance. At the same time, as documented by recent journalistic investigations, only 27 percent of projects recently implemented by the Ministry for public works have affected areas inhabited by the Christian population.
The Maronite Bishops see a serious pitfall for national coexistence in this phenomenon and invite politicians and institutions to abide by Article 95 of the Constitution, where it is written that different religious communities must be "equally represented" in the public administration" . In recent days, similar concerns were expressed also by Greek-Melkite Church.
In the statement released at the end of the Maronite Synodal Assembly, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Maronite Bishops also see the rapprochement of Maronite political forces, such as the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement (see Fides 19/01/2016 ) as a positive sign, expressing the hope that this process favors the end of the institutional paralysis in which the Country has been struggling since May 2014, and will eventually be able to elect a new President. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 05/02/2016)