BUENOS AIRES (Agencia Prensa Armenia)—Nestor Kirchner, former and late Argentine President, was honored on Wednesday, October 14 by the Armenian Cultural Association as a “gratitude” for the promulgation on January 11, 2007 of the National Law 26,199, that declares April 24 of every year, “Action Day for Tolerance and Respect between Peoples,” in commemoration of the genocide that was inflicted on the Armenian people.
“Genocide has crossed our lives, from our parents and grandparents. It has gone through the lives of our children, because there are wounds that remain open if they are not repaired. Societies need to close their wounds to continue to build, rediscover and grow,” said the Director of the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism Pedro Mouratian, one of the pioneers of Law 26,199 that officially recognizes the Armenian genocide. “That is the greatest legacy that has left us Nestor Kirchner. He helped the Argentine society and us to recover that ability.”
In telling the story of how they managed to pass Law 26,199, he recalled that the doors of the Parliament “were always open,” but with a “question mark.” According to Mouratian, that was the “final political decision” related to how far “the Turkish lobby had penetrated the Argentinean state.”
National Law 26,199, approved by the House of Representatives on November 29, 2006 and by the Senate on December 13 of that year, after the efforts of the Armenian National Committee of South America, was a precedent to other recognitions of states and international organizations. “A law that came to repair the struggle and the collective memory of the Armenian community, which is an inseparable part of all the groups that make up the Argentine people,” said Hugo Kuyumdjian, President of the Armenian Cultural Association.
In 1995, both houses had approved Law 24,559 that declared April 24 as the “Day of Repudiation and Discrimination Combat of Man against Man,” and recognized the Armenian Genocide, but President Carlos Menem vetoed it under Decree 562 on October 10 of that year. According to Kuyumdjian, the veto was an “injury to all those who fought for human rights” because it was “influenced by political lobbying exerted by the embassy of Turkey in our country.”
“The Turkish state must understand that the avant-garde position of our country on human rights and its position on the genocide against the Armenians, are not a matter for negotiation,” he added.