Ingrid & Anders

Armenian Genocide commemorated in the UK

Dear Members of the Armenian community in the United Kingdom,
Thank you for your continued support of ANC UK in our efforts to influence and guide UK policy on the issues of Artsakh and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Despite being unable to hold the usual 24th April march, the UK Armenian community held significant events to remember the 106th anniversary of the Genocide, calling for justice and recognition of the atrocities committed as genocide. 
We will continue to represent the interests of the Armenian community in the UK political arena to ensure that the voice of Armenians in the UK remains strong. This newsletter provides a brief update of the events and actions we took around the Armenian Genocide commemoration below. 

Our campaign: Act to Help POWs

While the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide was extremely important, hundreds of prisoners of war continue to be held captive by Azerbaijan over six months after the war ended. Our campaign “Release all POW’s now and stop the inhumane treatment of those held captive by Azerbaijan and allow Artsakh and Armenia to collect their dead” continues to be of importance. 
The APPG for Armenia officers wrote to the Foreign Minister about the POWs last week and they received a reply stating that the Minister is raising this issue directly with Azerbaijan.
ANC UK also wrote to the UK Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Neil Holland and the PACE UK delegation and asked them to support us by doing everything in its power, including the imposition of sanctions, to persuade the autocratic state of Azerbaijan to put an end to these serious human rights violations and to repatriate the imprisoned prisoners of war, servicemen and civilians. The officers of the APPG, ANC Chair and Wendy Morton MP (FCDO Minister) met on 27 April – the main topic of discussion was the issue of the POWs and what the UK could do to help resolve the issue. 
Condemn Azerbaijan for not releasing the hundreds of POWs and the inhumane treatment of those held captive by Azerbaijan by writing to your MP today. 
Write to your MP now!

Our actions on your behalf

Heads of the community with Bishop Hovakim, Armenian Embassy, Armenian Community Council, APPG chairman Tim Loughton and Mr Stephen Pound together with our allies from the Cypriot Federation and Kurdish Peoples Democratic Assembly of Britain. 
Over the last couple of weeks, we have worked with British MPs and the Armenian community to raise the issue of the Armenian Genocide with the government and raise awareness through media coverage and events. Here are the actions we have taken on your behalf:
1. Following the launch of our social media campaign on the issue of the Armenian Genocide, many APPG members and other MPs express their support for the cause. 
This included tweets from Tim Loughton MP, Rupa Huq MP, Feryal Clark MP, Catherine West MP (Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Lord Alton, Lord Adonis (click on each name to see their statements). 
In addition, there were tweets from the AEGIS Trust, the HART Foundation, the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Genocide80Twenty, Boycott Turkey, Peace in Kurdistan and Dr Ewelina Oschab, a human rights lawyer and advocate. 
2. Tim Loughton MP, chair of the Armenia APPG issued a statement urging the UK to recognise the Armenian Genocide linking the events to the recent invasion of Artsakh by Turkey and Azerbaijan. In addition, Tim mentioned the Armenian Genocide in relation to the Xinjiang debate on the 22 April
3. Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, the Armenian Embassy, the Armenian Community Council, other community leaders, th APPG for Armenia chairman Tim Loughton and Mr Stephen Pound together with our allies from the Cypriot Federation and Kurdish Peoples Democratic Assembly of Britain laid wreaths at the Cenotaph on 23 April 

A private briefing organised by ANCUK for Members of Parliament was chaired by the chairman of the APPG for Armenia, Tim Loughton MP, and focused on the history of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Armenia and surrounding areas. MPs heard an introduction from Hayk Demoyan on the history of the genocide, a passionate and informative account about the Baku pogroms and continued ethnic cleansing from Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte and a speech from Henry C. Theriault on the importance of recognition. They provided positive feedback and were very impressed by the expertise of our selected speakers.
5. Both MPs for Ealing, James Murray and Rupa Huq, together with ex-Ealing MP Stephen Pound and Councillor Julien Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, welcomed our invitation to take part in a ceremony at the Apricot tree on 25th April. This was the first time when all key political representatives in Ealing participated in this memorial ceremony, each paying a moving tribute to the Armenian Genocide and its victims. 
6. Baroness Cox visited Armenia during the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. In addition, Baroness Cox directed a parliamentary question to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development OfficeTo ask her Majesty’s Government whether they will formally observe Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on 24 April.
Lord Goldsmith response on behalf of the Government:
“The events of 1915-1916 were a tragic episode in the history of the Armenian people and they must never be forgotten. The UK Government of the day condemned the massacres and this Government fully endorses that view. The policy of the UK Government is that any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for competent courts, rather than for governments. Although we will not formally be observing the ‘Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day’ our thoughts will be with the Armenian people.” 
ANC Position: We will continue to campaign for the Government to change its stance on this issue. By “competent courts”, the Government is referring to international judicial systems, not domestic courts. This, of course, is erroneous because it neglects the basic fact that it is the State that is the duty bearer under the Genocide Convention. (This lay at the heart of Lord Alton’s recent ‘genocide amendment’ to the Trade Bill). 
Rupa Huq MP, James Murray MP, Stephen Pound and Cllr Julien Bell at the Apricot Tree Ceremony for the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on 25 April. 

Next steps

The genocide amendments to the Trade Bill, alongside Biden’s statement, and the UK Parliament’s recognition of the atrocities being committed against the Uyghurs as genocide creates a good momentum to bring about change. The UK’s world image and self-positioning as ‘Global Britain’ will be affected if the current government does not review its policy on the Armenian Genocide when most of the developed countries, including UK allies have recognised the genocide.
The time to act is now, so we will also continue to provide direct support to Tim Loughton MP in the drafting and promoting the private members’ bill on the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which he is likely to bring forward following recess. However, we also need your support in raising this issue with your MPs to gain support in Parliament. Please get in touch if you want to support the campaign. 
We will continue to take action on your behalf to raise awareness, influence and guide UK policy and represent the collective British Armenian viewpoint on the issue of Artsakh. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Dr Rostom Stepanian

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of a distinguished and much-respected member of our community, Dr. Rostom Stepanian (8 Nov 1922 – 27 March 2021). A lifetime advocate and supporter of the Armenian Cause. Respecting Dr. Stepanian’s wishes, donations can be made in lieu of flowers to ANC UK:
Account details:
Name: Armenian National Committee
Sort: 40-20-26
Account Number: 61201042
Alternatively, please make cheques payable to ANC UK.
Send to: Mr. R. Kilian, 51 Woodstock Road, London, W4 1DT
Donate on behalf of Dr Stephanian

How you can help:

1. Participate in our campaign by writing to your MP to raise awareness about what is happening to POWs. ANC has templates on our website. It’s just a click of a button.
Write to your MP now!
2. Write to your MP using a personal message, with a compelling story of why the issues of Artsakh and the Armenian Genocide matter to you, asking them for a meeting. If you secure a meeting, ANC UK will be happy to brief you ahead of this and provide you with any necessary materials.
3. The committee has so far worked on volunteer capacity and we would like to raise funds to employ full-time staff in the near future and need our community to assist us in this. Please consider donating to ANC UK and help us continue our work. With everything that we’ve all been through and all that lies ahead, we need your faith, your friendship, and financial generosity more than ever before.
4. Get in touch with us by responding to this email if you are interested in becoming a rapid responder, giving you the opportunity to be more involved in our campaigning work and allowing us to use your name in contacting MPs quickly and directly.
5. Get in touch if you would like to engage with your MP on the issue of the Armenian Genocide and would like support in contacting them. 

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