Belgium leaves Armenian Genocide out of law penalizing denial

Belgium leaves Armenian Genocide out of law penalizing denial

PanARMENIAN.Net - During its plenary sessions of 24-25 April 2019 the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium discussed and made amendments to a law penalizing the denial of genocides to include the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacres. Despite the efforts of the Armenian community of Belgium, several members of the parliament and experts, the adopted text did not include the penalization of the denial of the Armenian Genocide, reveals the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).

As a matter of fact, Belgium has officially recognized the Armenian Genocide on three levels: the Chamber of Representatives, the Senate, and the Government via the official statement of Prime Minister Charles Michel.

The Belgian parliament’s press service revealed that the amendment that would recognize the denial of the Genocide of Armenians as a crime has been rejected.

“The decision of the Belgian Parliament to exclude the Armenian Genocide from the law is unacceptable and deeply disappointing. The prerequisites for the penalization of the denial of Armenian genocide and thus following the example of a number of European countries were there. Tolerating denialism certainly encourages authoritarian regimes, such as that of Erdogan and unfortunately this can give green light to xenophobic anti-Armenian sentiments,” stated Kaspar Karampetian, the president of the EAFJD.

Karampetian further elaborated: “It was regretful to see how the majority of the Chamber turned a deaf ear to the public opinion, numerous articles published in Belgium’s top media, to the demand of human rights activists and to the amendments of various parliamentarians, whose commitment to justice we highly appreciate”.

Turkish political activist Doğu Perinçek was found guilty of racial discrimination by a Swiss district court in March 2007 after he called the Armenian Genocide of 1915 a "great international lie". When Perinçek appealed to the European Court of Human Rights,its Lower Court ruled that Switzerland had violated the Turkish politician's freedom of expression. The government of Switzerland appealed the lower court's ruling, but the Grand Chamber upheld the previous ruling.

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