In response to a call for input by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, Armenian Bar Association associate members Astghik Hairapetian, Anoush Baghdassarian, Mariam Nazaretyan, and Dickran Khodanian, prepared the linked report to the U.N. Special Rapporteur  (Link to Report).  The purpose of the report is to help stop the activities of the Grey Wolves before they further realize their racist worldview.  The Grey Wolves’ vitriol and invective have become increasingly evident, especially during Azerbaijan’s recent aggression against Artsakh.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur and UCLA Law School Professor E. Tendayi Achiume is to combat and prevent varied forms of racism, racial discrimination, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and related intolerance. Not only do these established forms of racism exist, they are continually changing. To combat such violations of basic human rights, the Special Rapporteur transmits urgent appeals and communications to States regarding alleged violations of international human rights law, performs country visits, and submits reports to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

To inform the Special Rapporteur’s 2021 report to the Human Rights Council on combatting the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism, and other practices that fuel contemporary forms of racism and related intolerance, Special Rapporteur Achiume requested written submissions from civil society organizations and other stakeholders who can share their experience and knowledge. To this end, the Armenian Bar’s submission details the harmful and intolerant activities of the Grey Wolves, a group whose ideology is characterized by exaggerated nationalism and racist violence against ethnic minorities in Turkey and around the world and, in particular, against Armenians.

Lucy Varpetian, Chairwoman of the Armenian Bar Association, commented, “In a time when ultra-nationalist policies propel discrimination and violence in many parts of the world, we applaud the Special Rapporteur’s commitment to receiving substantiated reports about the full scope of the threat of neo-Nazism and related practices.  We hope that the diverse submissions will lead to a thematic report that highlights this trend in all its forms and serves to oppose it.”

The report details who the Grey Wolves are, their acts against Armenians and other groups, including in the military context, Turkey and Azerbaijan’s support of the group, and European governments’ policies to combat the group. It concludes by stating: “Particularly in the context of Erdogan’s Pan-Turkic expansionist vision from the Mediterranean to Libya and beyond, and Turkey’s illicit use of armed force to reach its objectives, it is critical to understand the radical ideological streams undergirding the politics of the region and around the world. The Grey Wolves and its sympathizers drive racist violence towards ethnic minorities.  The group should be understood as a dangerous ideology paralleling Nazism in form – in light of indications of state support – and in substance – in light of explicit calls for the eradication of certain ethnic groups. Azerbaijan’s aggression towards Artsakh and its Armenians is both a recent manifestation of this dangerous ideology, and a warning of a disturbing, growing trend.

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