Armenians of South America meet Swiss reps. over ECHR ruling

Armenians of South America meet Swiss reps. over ECHR ruling

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Committee (CNA) of South America held a series of meetings with Swiss representatives in Argentina and Uruguay to express the concern of the community regarding the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case "Perincek vs Switzerland", Agencia Prensa Armenia reported.

The CNA handed a letter to every Swiss representative stressing that the “damaging consequences that could this ruling bring, not only for the struggle for recognition and reparations of the Armenian Genocide, but also for the whole range of principles of the international laws regarding human rights. That is why we respectfully ask, through you, the Swiss State to appeal the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.”

On Feb 13, the CNA of Uruguay met with the Swiss ambassador in Uruguay Didier Pfirter, who was fully aware of the Armenian cause and said he had been concerned over the issues related to the Armenian Genocide for years. The ambassador promised to deliver the letter to his government.

The next day, the CNA of Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, handed the letter to the Swiss ambassador in Argentina Johannes Matyassy, and on Feb 20 the CNA of Córdoba, province of Argentina, met with the Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Cordoba Dr. Ricardo J. Rysler, handed the letter and also the interview that Prensa Armenia conducted to Dr. Sévane Garibian.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Dec 17 that denial of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians as genocide falls under freedom of expression, following an appeal from a Turkish politician to his conviction in Switzerland.

Turkish Workers’ Party (İP) Chairman Dogu Perincek, who had described the Armenian Genocide as an “international lie,” had complained that Swiss courts had breached his freedom of expression, based on Article 10 covering freedom of expression.

The ECHR ruling stated that “the free exercise of the right to openly discuss questions of a sensitive and controversial nature is one of the fundamental aspects of freedom of expression and distinguishes a tolerant and pluralistic democratic society from a totalitarian or dictatorial regime.”

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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