LONDON – Christian leaders in Britain have asked the UK Government to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

In a letter to Prime Minster Rishi Sunak, Church heads said such an official recognition is not merely symbolic “but serves as a powerful statement against atrocities and a step toward preventing future acts of genocide.”

The head writer of the document was Armenian Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, but it included several Orthodox and Anglican bishops, as well as a Catholic member of the House of Lords.

The letter reads:

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you on the occasion of the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. On April 24th, Armenians worldwide commemorate this day, which has profoundly impacted millions and continues to resonate in our collective memory.

The United Kingdom has always been at the forefront of defending human rights and justice on the global stage. Historical figures such as former Prime Ministers David Lloyd George and Sir Winston Churchill have openly spoken about the massacres of Armenians from 1915 to 1923, referring to them as “the holocausts of 1915” and the “clearance of the Armenian race from Asia-Minor,” respectively.

These acknowledgements from your predecessors underscore the significance of the events that transpired and the importance of formally recognizing them. In recent years, the global community has made significant strides in acknowledging historical injustices, including key allies such as the United States and several European nations formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

This recognition is not merely symbolic but serves as a powerful statement against atrocities and a step toward preventing future acts of genocide. Unfortunately, the atrocities committed against the Armenians over a century ago in the Ottoman Empire have yet again been repeated recently. Following the 44-day devastating war in Artsakh in the autumn of 2020, in September 2023, Azerbaijan launched a campaign which Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide,” defined as ” a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of
annihilating the groups themselves.””

The nine-month blockade of Artsakh (known as Nagorno Karabakh) was the beginning of such a genocidal policy, culminating with a military atrocity that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from their ancestral homeland.

Today, as we witness ongoing conflicts and challenges to international law and human rights, the role of historical truth in fostering peace and justice has never been more critical. The United Kingdom’s formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide would send a strong message to the world about our commitment to historical truth and justice, transcending political and economic interests.

Prime Minister, the Armenian diaspora was formed not as a result of natural migration but because our people were forced to flee their historical homeland; our people were killed, raped, sent on death marches to the Syrian deserts, and our churches and homes were burnt and totally destroyed. The same is happening now. Today, the Azerbaijani government, backed by Turkey, continues to threaten Armenia, and exerts pressure to gain control over more territories within the sovereign territory of Armenia.

I respectfully urge you and the government to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide. Such an act of recognition would not only honor the memory of those who suffered and affirm justice but would also reaffirm the UK’s commitment to upholding human rights.

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the UK would also send a clear message to Turkey and Azerbaijan to cease their aggression against Armenia. Indeed, there is a high risk that the actions of Turkey and Azerbaijan would result in a new war breaking out, adding a third conflict to a world already beset with global uncertainty and wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Thank you for considering this significant and heartfelt request.

I look forward to your support in making this recognition a reality, as it would profoundly resonate with all who cherish justice and historical truth.

 

 

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