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Brussels, Belgium 9 October 2009—The EAFJD is pleased to announce that the “Denial and Democracy in Europe” conference addressing the ban on genocide denial in Europe was hosted at European Parliament on 6 October 2009 from 3 -6:30 pm.
The conference, which was attended by nearly 100 delegates including MEPs, political advisors and media experts, explored genocide denial in the EU in light of the Framework Decision against Racism and Xenophobia, adopted by the European Council last year.
The keynote speakers included German MEP Mr Elmar Brok, French MEP Mr Jean-Marie Cavada, and Dr H.C. Ralph Giordano, a renowned German intellectual and Holocaust survivor. Mr Brok and Mr Cavada expressed the importance of the Framework Decision and Dr H.C. Giordano said that any hope for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia should be contingent on Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Mr Brok said that the struggle against genocide denial is “an outgrowth of Europe’s history and experience of the Holocaust.” Brok explained that Hitler’s famous statement that no one remembered the Armenians who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, was used as proof to his party that there was impunity for the crimes his party was committing. He stated that “upholding remembrance and fighting against genocide denial is a political duty”.
Mr Cavada emphasized the contrast between Germany’s response to their history and Turkey’s obstinate position on the Armenian Genocide, despite the facts. He explained that understanding one’s national history is a cornerstone to democracy and, tackling the topic of Turkey’s EU accession talks, that “we cannot trust a government that does not look at its own past.” Drawing a distinction between the people of Turkey and the Turkish authorities, Cavada called the latter “dangerous” and genocide denial “a cancer”.
Mr Giordano, having survived the Holocaust and having studied the Armenian Genocide, recounted the political history of the events leading up to 1915, calling the Genocide an “apocalypse of universal extent,” the likes of which the world has only ever seen one other time, upon the liberation of Germany following WWII. Mr Giordano explained that the Jews and Armenians are a uniquely unified people with a tragic history shared by survivors and descendents alike. Adding that both peoples were endangered in the past and the present, he explained that “it is my biography that compels me to push for an alliance between these communities.”
The conference was a joint effort on the part of the European Armenian Federation, the Jewish Laic Community and IBUKA-France, the major Tutsi advocacy organization in Europe. The chairpersons of these three organizations denounced genocide denial in Europe and stressed the importance of upholding European values through a strong interpretation of the Framework Decision.
Article 1 of the Framework Decision Framework Decision against Racism and Xenophobia prohibits genocide denial in the EU. As EU Member States must incorporate the provisions of this Framework Decision into their national legislations by 2010, the strength of individual domestic interpretations is on the table.
Mrs Hilda Tchoboian, as Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation, called upon the various ministries of justice and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency to implement strict interpretations of the Framework Decision and thus introduce a legal standard for genocide denial, and to monitor and address genocide denial in the EU in all its forms. Moreover, addressing the present negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, she recalled that European Armenians support the normalisation of relations between the two countries but that they oppose “Turkey’s attempts to surreptitiously introduce its denial policy into the protocols and other international instruments.”
Summaries of the speeches and video interviews of Mr Cavada and Mr Brok are available on the website of the European Armenian Federation.

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