Armenian Church voices concerns over new genocide

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

May 20, 2004


Joining efforts by the U.S. government, the United Nations, and a
variety of international aid organizations to stop the violence in
Sudan before it becomes genocide, the National Council of Churches
(NCC) this week issued a call for intervention in the troubled region.

During its meeting in Chicago, the NCC’s executive board passed a
resolution on Tuesday, May 18, 2004, urging member churches to push
for cessation of the apparent attempt at ethnic cleansing in the
Darfur region of western Sudan.

The violence has already claimed tens of thousands of lives and
displaced a million people.


The year-long battle in the Darfur region is being propagated by the
majority Arab population which controls most of the nation’s wealth
and power. U.N. officials report a systematic attempt to rid the
Darfur region of non-Arab residents.

News reports tell of bombings from government airplanes followed by an
invasion by the Jinjaweit — a government-backed nomadic Arab tribe
which has been promised the land in Darfur — who are using rape,
killings, and arson to force the surviving black residents to leave.

Those able to flee the Sudan — which was recently elected to a
three-year term on the U.N. Human Rights Commission — have been
pouring into neighboring Chad, where food, water, and shelter are
growing scarce. American officials have unsuccessfully called on
Sudan to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the Darfur area.

“My family is victim of the first genocide of the 20th century,” said
Bishop Vicken Aykazian, legate and ecumenical officer of the Diocese
of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) and a member of the NCC
executive board. “I am very much concerned when I see that people in
other nations now are being massacred as well, simply because they
are black. Ten years ago, in Rwanda, in front of the civilized world,
one million people were slaughtered. The same thing is happening now
in Sudan. The NCC must take this very seriously and do something.”

The first NCC resolution dealing with the Sudan was approved in 2002.
This recent resolution “affirms and extends” the calls to action made
in the earlier statement of the NCC Executive Board — an 80 member
body representing leaders from the NCC’s 36 Protestant, Orthodox,
and Anglican member churches.

— 5/20/04

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