The archbishop spoke July 12, delivering remarks during the U.N. Security Council's discussion on the situation in the Middle East.
"Religions and believers, in particular, must prove themselves worthy of their rightful place in the whole process of pacification in the region," he said. "They must put an end to any form of mutual hatred that could lend credence to a 'clash of civilizations'."
Archbishop Auza stressed that "the more religion is manipulated to justify acts of terror and violence, the more religious leaders must be engaged in the overall effort to defeat the violence that attempts to hijack it for purposes antithetical to its nature."
"Spurious religious fervour must be countered by authentic religious instruction and by the example of true communities of faith. It is only then that faith-based 'informal diplomacy' can fruitfully compliment the formal diplomacy of States and multilateral bodies."
Focusing his attention on Syria and the "unspeakable suffering" of its people, the archbishop highlighted "the continued persecution of Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minority groups by non-State actors in parts of Syria and Iraq."
He noted Pope Francis' strong denunciation of all those participating in "the senseless slaughter of civilians," on whatever side of the conflict.
"The Pope also denounces those who supply substantial amounts of money and weaponry to the fighters who kill and maim the innocent population and destroy civilian institutions and infrastructure," he said. "One cannot but lament the duplicity of simultaneously talking peace while supplying arms to those who kill, on every side of the conflict."
Archbishop Auza asked the international community to end the illegal supply of weapons to non-state actors, who have committed crimes against humanity and other atrocities. He raised ethical and legal questions about technologically advanced weapons, including remote-controlled assassinations that lack due process of law and cause collateral damage to civilians.