Ahead of the visits of His Holiness Pope Francis to Armenia (24-26 June), Azerbaijan and Georgia (30 September-2 October), the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee addressed the Holy Father in an Open Letter appealing to encourage lasting peace and respect for human rights in the South Caucasus.
“The citizens and the rulers, as well as the religious leaders in these countries and their congregations, will be listening carefully to the message deliver by you in public and in private. Your words will carry a special weight as they will come at a time when the threat of a return to war hangs over Armenia and Azerbaijan and the resulting destabilisation could affect the entire Caucasus region,” reads the letter.
The message to the Pope reiterates the main challenges in the region and role of the church in finding the solutions: “Peace and respect for human rights are essential if an ecumenical dialogue is to flourish in the region between Christian denominations themselves and with other faiths, some of which today carry the seed of radicalism. Indeed, religious leaders in the region must be encouraged to do more in their work for peace among their peoples.”