Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly issued on April 3, 2017 the following statement on Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month:
“Canada has been affected by many genocides, including the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the Holodomor, the Armenian genocide and the Srebrenica massacre. Throughout history, our country has welcomed survivors of these atrocities, as well as descendants of those who perished. They have contributed much to Canada and we pay our deepest respects to them.
Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month is a time to remember these tragic events, as well as to stand up against prejudice, hate and other forms of exclusionary practices that are known precursors to crimes against humanity.
As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, I encourage Canadians to take this time to remember those who suffered and those who lost their lives to genocide, and to commit to protecting human rights and dignity everywhere, including for those of minority groups.”
The Armenian Genocide refers to the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey. The Turkish government denies that there was an Armenian genocide.
Melanie Joly‘s failed to mention the genocide committed by the Islamic State (aka ISIS, Daesh, Caliphate) against Christians and Yezidis. ISIS’ genocide against the Yezidis was officially recognized by a United Nations-mandated human rights commission.
Motion M-587 was introduced by Conservative MP Brad Butt and unanimously adopted on March 25, 2015. The motion read:
“That the House: (a) re-affirm its support for (i) the Holocaust Memorial Day Act, (ii) the Armenian genocide recognition resolution adopted on April 21, 2004, (iii) the Rwandan genocide resolution adopted on April 7, 2008, (iv) the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day Act; (b) call upon the government to honour the victims of all genocides by recognizing the month of April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month; and (c) acknowledge the associated commemorative days of (i) Yom ha-Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), as determined by the Jewish Lunar calendar, (ii) Armenian Genocide Memorial Day on April 24, (iii) Rwandan Genocide Memorial Day on April 7, (iv) Holodomor Memorial Day on the fourth Saturday in November.
“April 24, 2015 will mark the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In those hundred years, similar horrific events have been repeated over and over again. Even as we remember the victims of the past, ethnicity and religion is the basis of gruesome massacres being carried out right now in the Middle East, particularly against the Christian Assyrian community.
“Preventing genocide is the personal responsibility of every individual around the world. Only you can give life to the words “Never Again!” Join the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada in calling on the Canadian government to officially designate April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. As a world leader in human rights advocacy, Canada is uniquely placed to take this step towards ensuring a more humane world for future generations.”
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at [email protected]