LONDON–British Baroness, Caroline Cox, on Tuesday wrote an op-ed piece for ePolitix.com calling on the British government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Her piece was submitted ahead of her asking an oral question to the House of Lords about the Armenian Genocide. We present her piece in its entirety below:
British Government Should Recognize Armenian Genocide
BY BARONESS CAROLINE COX
I am asking HMG whether it will reconsider its position on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide sadly, without any hope of a change in the British government’s consistent policy of refusal to acknowledge the truth.
However, the question is timely for three reasons:
1. The recent recognition by the Swedish Parliament of the state-organized massacres of 1.5 million Armenians by Turkish authorities, beginning in 1915, as genocide the latest in a long line of Parliaments and other official bodies, such as the Vatican, to do so.
2. The publication last October of ‘Was there an Armenian Genocide?
Geoffrey Robertson QC’s opinion with reference to Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents which show how British ministers, Parliament and people have been misled’.
3. This year marks the 95th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide and recognition is long overdue. Every genocide which remains unrecognized is, in effect, condoned and can serve as an encouragement to other potential perpetrators of subsequent genocides. This was most infamously illustrated by Hitler’s reference to the Armenian Genocide before he embarked on the extension of the Holocaust in Poland:
“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Whenever initiatives are taken to encourage recognition of the systematic slaughter and deportation of between one and two million Armenians as genocide, the Turkish government becomes extremely active in attempting to prevent this, through intimidating political pressure and threats of economic boycott.
This response is tragic for at least three reasons:
1. Refusal to acknowledge the truth inevitably prevents any possibility of healing for the Armenian people, and of genuine reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey.
2. It would be healing for the Turkish people themselves for the truth of their history to be acknowledged. When I was in Turkey, talking to professional Turkish colleagues, many said they wished their government would acknowledge the genocide. They knew the reality and felt deeply unhappy at being forced to hide the truth and to live a lie.
3. As already stated, refusal to recognise historical reality of any genocide can serve as an encouragement to other potential perpetrators, who will believe that they can get away with similar genocides with impunity.
Geoffrey Robertson QC’s concluding paragraph claims:
‘HMG’s real and only policy has been to evade truthful answers to questions about the Armenian Genocide, because the truth would discomfort the Turkish government. It can be predicted that any future question on the subject will be met with the same meaningless formula about “insufficiently unequivocal evidence”, disguising the simple fact that HMG will not now come to terms with an issue on which it was once so volubly certain, namely that the Armenian massacres were a “crime against humanity” which should never be forgiven or forgotten.
Times change, but as other civilised nations recognise, the universal crimes of genocide and torture have no statute of limitations.’
This debate offers HMG an opportunity to join other civilised nations.
I greatly fear that it will fail to do so, and perpetuate Britain’s dishonour. But at least it will provide an opportunity for the truth to be recorded once again in the British Parliament, for British citizens to make up their own minds and, as the Welsh Assembly has already done, to its great credit, to acknowledge and proclaim the historic truth.
Swedish Parliament to re-run vote on Armenian Genocide Resolution
14:30 / 03/25/2010The Swedish Parliament will hold a second vote on the Armenian Genocide resolution in 2011, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated in his March 25 interview with Turkish NTV.
It is wrong to adopt political decisions on the events which took place 100 years ago. What should be in question now is 2015, when Turkey may become a full-fledged EU member, rather than 1915, Bildt said.
He expressed a hope the resolution-complicated Turkish-Swedish relations will shortly be normalized. Minister Bildt gave assurances that that Sweden is a friendly state to Turkey, RIA Novosti reports.
On March 11 the Swedish Parliament approved an Armenian Genocide resolution. A week before, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a similar resolution. Turkey recalled its Ambassadors to the U.S and Sweden in protest.