Ottawa – Today, January 23, 2012 marks another historic step in the struggle against the denial of theArmenian Genocide. The French Senate (Le Sénat français – Upper House of the Bicameral Parliament of France) with 127 votes in favour and 86 against passed the bill criminalizing the denial of genocides, including the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The bill was introduced by Valérie Boyer, member of the French National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale – Lower House). The bill, which upon French President, Nicholas Sarkozy’s approval will become a law, punishes the denial of genocide by one year prison sentence and a fine of 45,000 Euros.
The President of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, Dr. Girair Basmadjian commented on the vote “We are grateful for the courageous stance of the French Senate that refused to give in to the intimidation and blackmailing of the Turkish authorities and said a clear YES to Justice and Respect to the memory of 1.5 million Armenians who lost their lives during the Armenian Genocide.” Dr. Basmadjian added, “There are widespread arguments that a similar bill can limit freedom of expression, but the term has long ago lost its true meaning because it is abused widely by the EXPERTS of denial, who spread racism and hatred by denying the genocide of a whole nation. Ironically this vote coincides with the 5th Anniversary of the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was an advocate of freedom of speech by daring to openly discuss the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. He thus, became the victim of the denialists of the Armenian Genocide who introduced a law (Article 301 of the Turkish penal code) making it illegal the open discussion of the Armenian Genocide under the banner of insulting Turkishness.”
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.