Argentine Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide

BUENOS AIRES (Armenia)–In a vote of 175 to two abstentions the lower house of Argentina’s parliament Wednesday adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The bill overwhelmingly approved by the assembly declared April 24, which sees annual commemorations of more than one million genocide victims in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora, an official "day of mutual tolerance and respect" among peoples around the world. It gives Argentine citizens of Armenian descent the legal right to be absent from work or university classes on that day. The bill has to be approved by the Argentine Senate in order to become a law. Officials in Buenos Aires say the upper house could discuss it as early as next week. The Armenian National Committee of South America worked tirelessly on this matter, which was earlier postponed from the parliamentary agenda. Through the activism of the Argentine-Armenian community, more than 4,500 emails were sent to Patricia Fatel, the parliament member who had proposed to postpone discussion of the matter. Leader of Argentina’s majority bloc Alberto Balestrini added the issue to the legislative agenda, which was welcomed by Parliament Speaker Augustine Rosi began deliberations. His moving presentation was followed by other members of parliament voicing the need for such a resolution. After the final vote tally, members of the community who had filled the legislative chamber applauded their representatives for this historic decision. Argentina is home to tens of thousands of ethnic Armenia’s, most of them descendants of genocide survivors. They have long been lobbying the authorities in Buenos Aires to officially recognize the genocide. Neighboring Uruguay, which also has an influential Armenian community, did so several years ago.

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