The Uniting Church in Australia has formally acknowledged that the Armenian massacres and forced deportations constitute a genocide.The UCA is the third denomination at a national level to acknowledge the genocide that took place 100 years ago. Carried out during and after World War I under the Turkish Government, the genocide was implemented in two phases – the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour.
This was followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre.
The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at 1.5 million. A further one million were displaced.
Rev. Dr Krikor Youmshajekian from St Andrews Longueville Uniting Church and former minister at the Willoughby Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney addressed the Assembly.
“In the years of 1915-1918, the Armenian people were under the grip of annihilation and the brutal plans of genocide – but God saved this first Christian nation from being wiped out, said Rev. Dr Youmshajekian.
The origins of the Armenian people date back to Noah. In 301 CE they became the first Christian nation and 100 years later developed their own alphabet and language which is still used today.