ANCC Condemns UN Censorship

Armenian National Committee of Canada
130 Albert St., Suite 1007
Ottawa, ON
KIP 5G4
Tel. (613) 235-2622 Fax (613) 238-2622
E-mail:[email protected]
www .anccanada.org

PRESS RELEASE
April 16, 2007
Contact: Kevork Manguelian

Tel. (613) 235-2622

ANCC Condemns UN Censorship Ottawa-The Armenian National Committee of Canada
(ANCC) sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
condemning his Undersecretary-general for Communications and Public
Information Kiyotaka Akasaka’s decision to delay the opening of Aegis Trust’
s "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibition at the organization’s headquarters in New
York City. The exhibition, to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Tutsi
Genocide in Rwanda, would have been inaugurated by Mr. Ban Ki-Moon on Monday
9th April. To recall the historical continuity of the genocide processes,
one of the exhibition display panels said: "After the First World War,
during which one million Armenians were killed in Turkey, the Polish lawyer
Raphaël Lemkin urged the Society of Nations to recognize barbarian crimes as
international crimes." ANCC president Jean Meguerditchian said in his letter
that he considered the UN under-secretary decision’s to cancel the
exhibition "giving in to the Turkish Government’s revisionist point of view
and to blatant political blackmail. a fatal mistake for the UN as the moral
compass of the world." "The UN is sending a twisted message to all those
who in the future would contemplate the elimination of a nation or a race,"
ANCC president’s letter pointed out.

Meguerditchian called on the secretary-general and the UN not to "be
selective in their condemnation or the punishment of the guilty. Otherwise,
your organization would become an accomplice to genocide denial, the last
act of all genocides. Your misconceived action would set a precedent for the
future denial of the Holocaust and other genocides," he said. The ANCC calls
on the UN to reverse its decision and relaunch the exhibition without any
change from its original content. "The ANCC would like to take this
opportunity to commend the Aegis Trust for its principled, moral and ethical
stand to uphold their initial decision and not cave in to Turkey’s
representatives and to UN officials by deleting the Armenian Genocide
reference from the exhibit," said Aris Babikian, the executive director of
the ANCC. -30-

ANCC LETTER TEXT

April 10, 2007

Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General United NationsOne United
Nations PlazaNew York, NY 10017 Dear Secretary General,
Canadians at large and Canadian-Armenians in particular are dismayed with
Undersecretary-general for communications and public information Kiyotaka
Akasaka’s decision to delay the opening of Aegis Trust’s "Lessons from
Rwanda" exhibition at the United Nations in New York City.

At a time when the UN and the international community is pledging to take
effective and resolute measures to eradicate the scourge of genocide, Mr.
Akasaka is shutting down an important communication medium that would help
prevent genocides and ethnic cleansing by educating viewers about learning
from the mistakes of the past.

Your action to obscure any mention of the Armenian Genocide is particularly
ironic since it was your organization that requested Raphael Lemkin to draft
your Charter on Genocide prevention. We are confident that had Mr. Lemkin
were alive today he would have been outraged by your decision. What you have
conspired to do is an insult to Mr. Lemkin and to all who have worked and
have devoted their lives to prevent such heinous crimes as genocide from
reoccurring.

By giving in to the Turkish Government’s revisionist point of view and to
blatant political blackmail, the UN has undermined its own credibility. Such
a decision is a fatal mistake for the UN as the moral compass of the world.

The words of James Smith, chief executive of the Aegis Trust were true and
eloquent: "If we can’t get this right, it undermines all the values of the
U.N. It undermines everything the U.N. is meant to stand for in terms of
preventing (genocide) . . . You can’t learn the lessons from history if
you’re going to sweep all of that history under the carpet. And what about
accountability? What about ending impunity if you’re going to hide part of
the truth? It makes a mockery of all of this." Mr. Smith’s words summed up
the moral and ethical justification to reopen the exhibit as it was
originally planned.

By canceling the exhibit or by deleting any reference to the Armenian
Genocide, the UN is sending a twisted message to all those who in the future
would contemplate the elimination of a nation or a race.

In contrast, by upholding its initial decision, the UN and the international
community can send a clear and unequivocal message to the despots of the
world that the international community will not tolerate such vile treatment
of our fellow human beings and will not allow the denial machine to operate
with impunity.

Genocide prevention is the most important issue facing mankind. The UN can
not be selective in its condemnation or punishment of the guilty. Otherwise,
your organization would become an accomplice to genocide denial, the last
act of all genocides. Your misconceived action would set a precedent for the
future denial of the Holocaust and other genocides.

We have already seen that a number of countries are learning from the
Turkish Government’s denial policy. Encouraged by the impunity granted to
Turkey, they have launched genocides in Rwanda and in Darfur.

The UN cannot allow Hitler’s contemptuous remark: "Who remembers nowadays
the Armenians?" to haunt humanity forever. Respectfully, Jean
MeguerditchianPresident

The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian
grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of
offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated
organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of
the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.

Regional Chapters

Montréal – Laval – Ottawa – Toronto – Hamilton – Cambridge – St.
Catharines – Windsor – Vancouver

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