WCC delegation visits Armenia

WCC-visit-Armenia-September2023-13.jpg: Caption: Ecumenical delegation visits Armenia. © Peter Prove/WCC

In December 2022, a blockade was set up by the government of Azerbaijan that cut off the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh from critical supplies and humanitarian aid. The Azerbaijan government also appears to have targeted civilian infrastructure (electricity, gas, internet, etc.) in the area, furthering the region’s isolation. Consequently, a humanitarian crisis has been deepening over the past nine months. Following a military offensive in late September, and due to the realities created by the blockade, some 120,000 Indigenous Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan are estimated to have fled their homes. Leaving in fear of persecution, the influx of people to Armenia remains high. People are arriving at the border exhausted and with depleted resources following a 10-month-long blockade and having experienced the shock of military assault. The situation remains volatile.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC) asks you to pray for peace.

What else can you do?

Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D) of the PCC is monitoring the situation through its partner, the ACT Alliance. ACT is currently working on a response to the crisis for those who remain and to assist the people of Nagorno-Karabakh who are fleeing their homes to Armenia. Donations marked Nagorno-Karabakh received by PWS&D will be allocated to the ACT response.

This present situation is rooted in a much older conflict in which the PCC has a history of humanitarian involvement. Some 100 years ago, the PCC played an important role in helping Armenian refugees escape the horrors of the Armenian Genocide of WWI to settle here in Canada. As a former moderator, the Rev. Peter Bush wrote in 2015, “The Armenian Crisis was the first international humanitarian crisis the fledgling Presbyterian Church in Canada faced, having been formed from the union of four predecessor denominations in 1875.

From the World Council of Churches (WCC): As World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Prof. Dr. Jerry Pillay, speaking for justice , led a WCC delegation in Armenia, answering questions about what the team witnessed on the ground.

Read also the report of the WCC delegation’s visit to Armenia between September 18-22, 2023 .