CRAG E-Alert - 7 March 2005
Dear Friends & Supporters:
*** OSCE REQUEST FROM TURKEY ***
In a significant development on 2 March 2005, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) requested the repeal by Turkey of Articles 216, 302 & 305 from its Penal Code. The articles define, inter alia, as offences to national interests (and therefore punishable crimes) any reference to the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus and to the Armenian Genocide.
This is a matter that many organisations, including the EAFJD in Brussels and CRAG in London, have been lobbying for since early last year. Those articles in the Turkish Penal Code clearly impede freedom of expression as a European value and have been used as legal tools to bring to trial well-known writers and thinkers such as Ragip Zarakolu for making statements about the Armenian Genocide or for publishing books on this subject in Turkey.
You can read the fuller information on the official OSCE weblink: www.osce.org/news/
or as reported in a news item on the website of the Turkish Daily News: www.roj.tv/en/news/
*** World Council of Churches & Armenian Genocide ***
In a meeting from 15-22 February 2005, the Central Committee of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches called for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The Public Issues Committee of the WCC Central Committee (whose Moderator is HH Aram I, Catholicos of the House of Cilicia) recommended that the WCC General Secretary Dr Samuel Kobia 'porpose to all member churches to make April 24 a day of memory of the Armenian Genocide and to consider further appropriate actions.'
'From the Christian perspective, the path towards justice and reconciliation requires the recognition of the crime committed as a sine qua non condition for the healing of memories and the possibility of forgiveness', stated the Public Issues Committee.
This statement involves all Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches as well as the Anglican Church and Protestant Churches members of the WCC.
*** Professor Richard Hovannisian in London ***
As part of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the UK, CRAG and Hamazkayin co-sponsored a lecture by Professor Richard Hovannisian at Navasartian Centre (London) on 27 March 2005.
You can read an outline of the lecture on the ACCC website: www.accc.org.uk/News/
or also log on the Groong website excerpting the same outline at: http://groong.usc.edu/news/
*** Article by Nouritza Matossian in Observer ***
An incisive article entitled "They say 'incident'. To me it's genocide", written by author Nouritza Matossian, was published in the Observer on 27 February 2005. It was also featured as the "Big Issue" in the Letters Page last Sunday.
You can read this article on the Observer weblink: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/
You can also access directly the ACCC website where you can find the article, and some Letters-to-the-Editor, that have opened another challenging door for more debate about the Armenian Genocide: www.accc.org.uk/News/
*** Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury ***
In February 2005, Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury of the House of Lords made a Statement on the Armenian Genocide as part of the CRAG campaign toinvite different personalities to write about this event.
Her statement reads:
"As Armenians worldwide commemorate this year the 90th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, I add my voice to those of others and call upon Her Majesty's Government to recognise this historical injustice against Armenians that resulted in the deaths of one-and-a-half million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I.
In so doing, the United Kingdom would join other nations who have already recognised the Genocide and become one of the leaders of the world in ensuring that 'Never Again' retains its full meaning and significance. This would help to ensure that any nation would think again before committing any future acts of genocide or crimes against humanity. It could also ensure that other countries such as the USA, Germany and Israel would follow suit and recognise this painful chapter in 20th-century history."
You can read this Statement, as well as look at the new multi-link format of the CRAG website on www.crag.org.uk. As you can see, the website is almost there, with new sections and additional links, and some additions are expected later this week too. CRAG thanks the Webmaster'e efforts!
*** Worldwide Internet Petition ***
You can log on the following weblink and add your name to those demands for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide: www.genocide1915.info/
Do note that the UK-based 90th Committee of the Armenian Genocide is preparing its own Petition that will come out (both online on the CRAG + other websites and also in physical form for signatures) during the next fortnight.
This Petition will be submitted to the UK Parliament, as well as to PM Blair, toward the end of 2005 as part of the closing commemorative events.
*** List of Commemorative Events ***
Although three commemorative events have already taken place - namely, the lectures by Dr Tessa Hoffman and Professor Richard Hovannisian as well as the HMD evening at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff - the Chair of the 90th Committee will publish the full list of events next week.
All that needs to be done at the moment is to finalise a couple of pending events before publication and posting of the said list.
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