People hold portraits of Armenian intellectuals — who were detained and deported in 1915 — during a rally in Istanbul in 2018, held to commemorate the 103nd anniversary of the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Picture: Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images
Genocide is the most serious crime against humanity. The Holocaust caused the deaths of 6m people.
The UN was founded to prevent such crimes against humanity and the Genocide Convention was passed in 1948 to ensure the words ‘never again’ actually meant what they said.
Genocides occurred prior to the Holocaust, committed against indigenous people in the Americas; by Germany in south-west Africa, and by the Ottoman Turkish government during the First World War.
Genocides have continued to occur in breach of the Genocide Convention, especially in Cambodia, East Timor, Bosnia, and Rwanda.
Genocides will continue to occur unless positive actions are taken to prevent or stop genocide, and its perpetrators must be exposed and held to account.
The Armenian genocide began in 1915 during the First World War causing the deaths of more than 1.5m Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian people.
Subsequent governments of Turkey have denied that what occurred was genocide, thereby avoiding accountability or reparations. Recent conflicts across the Middle East from Libya to Myanmar have the potential to lead to acts of genocide.
Now is the time to act to prevent further acts of genocide.
The Armenian genocide has been recognised by the parliaments of 30 countries including 16 EU countries, the US Congress, and the EU Parliament.
Ireland has so far failed to do so.
We the undersigned call on members of the Oireachtas, including the Dáil and Seanad to pass a motion formally recognising the Armenian genocide as an initial step towards helping to prevent further acts of genocide.
Mairead Maguire, cofounder of The Peace People; Roger Cole, Peace and Neutrality Alliance; Barry Sweeney, World Beyond War, Ireland Chapter; John Lannon, Shannonwatch; Davy McCauley, Derry Anti War Coalition; Edward Horgan, Veterans For Peace Ireland; Niall Farrell, Galway Alliance Against War; Joe Murray, AFRI, Action From Ireland, and Martin Leavy, Yearly Meeting Quaker Peace Committee