BERN, SWITZERLAND — The International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute) produced a full-page informational advertisement that appeared in Switzerland’s leading German and French language newspapers Neue Zürcher Zeitung on March 6 and Le Temps on March 7. The advertisements were the product of collaboration between the Switzerland Armenia Association and the IIGHRS. Links to these articles in English, French, and German follow this article.
The purpose of these ads was to raise awareness with the Swiss public that the December 17, 2013 ruling of the Perinçek vs. Switzerland case by the European Court of Human Rights, promotes racism and violence against Armenians in Turkey and elsewhere. The statement further argued that the Swiss government has a moral responsibility to appeal this ruling and defend its laws against racism.
Seeing that to date the Swiss Government had not filed an appeal against the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, the IIGHRS felt that it is crucial to educate the public about this critical legal and moral issue. Switzerland was not a bystander to the Armenian Genocide in 1915, and it should not be a bystander and allow its denial today. In this respect, the Institute endeavored to raise awareness of the facts of the Armenian Genocide through the speeches of the President of Switzerland in 1922 to the League of Nations, and in the words of the current President about the action needed against denial of the Holocaust or any other genocide. President Burkhalter noted that it is the duty of the Swiss people to remind people, ‘of the facts and the historical reality’, and stressed that Switzerland does not want to just ‘pay lip service, but to take concrete action’ to fight denial. Through the juxtaposing of these two historical speeches, the Institute explained that while it does not disagree with the right to freedom of speech, it takes issue with the ECHR’s highly debatable statements about the Armenian Genocide that went far beyond the Court’s mandate or competence.