The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany, recalls again both the historical reality and the persistent and present threat of genocide for some peoples.
In this context, we have been reminded of the ‘Syriac genocide’ or ‘SAYFO’ in which, in 1915, over half a million Syriac-Aramaic Christians are estimated to have lost their lives. Though taking place in the same historical and political context, these events are understood as distinct and separate from the Armenian genocide (on which the Busan Assembly issued a Minute). Alongside the Armenian genocide, the upheavals of that historical period were marked by genocidal acts against several – mostly Christian – communities of Aramean, Chaldean, Syrian, Assyrian and Greek descent, which have blighted history at the beginning of the 20th century. We acknowledge that these tragic events occurred, and that they must be named by their right name.
All too often, the victims of genocide and their descendants face silence and the denial of historical facts, and must struggle for recognition of what their people have experienced, compounding their anguish and despair.
This Assembly therefore requests the General Secretary to provide information to WCC member churches on this matter and to continue to pursue it in appropriate contexts.