Disturbing Reports from Artsakh – Nagorno-Karabakh
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The Uniting Church in Australia is greatly disturbed to hear reports of further destruction of cultural and religious sites and artefacts in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno Karabakh). Since the November ceasefire between the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, reports of ongoing destruction continue to filter out from the region causing deep distress to many. Some of these sites are United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) protected, adding to our concern.
The Uniting Church:
- Condemns any acts that deliberately seek to destroy places of religious significance for other communities. We believe all people should be able to have their places of worship protected and respected.
- Acknowledges that reports coming out of Artsakh are concerning and especially distressing for people in Australia whose cultural and religious heritage is connected to this region.
- Acknowledge that Armenian members of our Uniting Church have expressed to us their anguish at hearing reports and seeing images that are emerging from the region showing the destruction and damage of Armenian cultural and religious structures including churches. One of the major sites impacted, the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, was visited by a group of UCA leaders in a visit in 2019.
- Joins the call of other Church leaders across the world in urging UNESCO to take all possible and appropriate measures to protect the sites. As several Bishops from the Church of England recently noted, “it is time to act now before centuries of history are lost forever”.
The Uniting Church encourages our members to be aware of this situation and to hold this region and its people in our prayers.
15 May 2021