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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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Linda Bloom
03 October 2007

The location of the recent World Council of Churches executive committee meeting was just as significant as the business conducted there, according to a United Methodist participant.

Meeting Sept. 25-28 in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, the committee experienced the religious influence of the host Armenian Apostolic Church, a WCC member, and the still-significant impact of a genocide that occurred nearly a century ago.

() Armenia's experiences were remembered as the executive committee took action to advocate for vulnerable people. "Meeting in the country of Armenia, where genocide nearly a century ago still casts a deep shadow, we reiterate the international responsibility to protect people at risk in the Darfur region of Sudan and in neighboring Chad," the WCC executive committee said in a "Minute on Darfur," which it approved.

Member churches are encouraged to advocate for the protection of people in Darfur with their governments and ask them to pay special attention to the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1706 on Darfur, the first time the Security Council has referred to the responsibility to protect in a specific country crisis.

Ecumenical delegations should make fact-finding and solidarity visits to the region including Darfur, as well as offer prayer and provide humanitarian aid, according to the executive committee.

Pickens said sending a WCC fact-finding delegation to Sudan "has been the subject of a lot of discussion," but that churches in the region had not deemed the time to be right in the past. He expects the WCC Central Committee will receive a report on a possible delegation visit when it meets next February. ()

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