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Verklaring van de Wereldraad van Kerken

14 april 2005

Commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, 24 April 2005

Message to the WCC member churches, 14 April, 2005

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As you are aware, the issue of human rights, justice and peace has been high on the agenda of the Council since its inception. Advocacy for victims of human rights violations is a gospel imperative rather than an option.

In keeping with this longstanding tradition, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, which met in Geneva between 15 and 22 February, 2005, proposed a day of memory of the Armenian Genocide and to consider future appropriate action related to the 90 years' commemoration of the first genocide of the 20th century.

The decision of the Central Committee was in keeping with international norms and standards of human rights and humanitarian law, which clearly state that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind…” Barbarous acts and crimes against humanity have continued despite the progress made in promotion and defence of human rights.

For churches and Christians, this is a challenge to their faith, for they hold all life sacred.

We hope services held all over the world on 24th April would encourage churches and Christians to reflect on truth, justice, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing of society. As the Moderator of the World Council of Churches Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia in his report to the February 2005 Central Committee pointed out: “The acceptance of truth is the sine qua non condition for forgiveness. Guilt must be admitted; truth must be told. The acknowledgement of truth in its totality is the first concrete and hopeful step towards a new beginning. Healing is generated primarily through truth-telling.”

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people and the churches of Armenia as they prayerfully commemorate this tragedy.

Yours in Christ,

Peter Weiderud
Director

Colofon