Why should the UK recognise the Armenian Genocide?
A crime unpunished is a crime encouraged, creating a sense of impunity among future perpetrators, so it is critical that the Armenian Genocide is recognised to prevent future genocides. With the Armenian Genocide being unrecognised, Hitler used it as an example to his own generals to justify his actions ahead of his invasion of Poland in 1939 when he ended his chillingly infamous speech with, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Recognising the Armenian Genocide would prevent dictators from acting with this kind of impunity.
Armenians today face serious existential threats in the form of rising violent attacks from Turkish neo-fascists and a recent invasion from Azerbaijan that forced 90,000 Armenians to flee their homes due to the threat of ethnic cleansing. Armenian Genocide recognition would prevent such crimes from being repeated.
Armenian Genocide recognition is the only way to encourage Turkey to truly accept a fair and just reconciliation with Armenia. It would also help prevent future political and military interventions in neighbouring countries that have caused severe instability in recent years, a key step for peace and prosperity in the region.
Recognising the Armenian Genocide would demonstrate our government’s commitment to human rights and reaffirm our vision of a ‘Global Britain’, an important step for human rights and justice overall.
The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is essential for the UK’s national interests for several reasons. The bill’s passage will uphold the UK’s commitment to the Genocide Convention, affirming its core values with regard to the Rule of Law, human rights and justice. Furthermore, recognition will ensure that all historical crimes against humanity are reported and recognised, enabling such atrocities to be cited as precedent when determining future acts of Genocide.
By recognising the Armenian Genocide, the UK will be enhancing its commitment to the basic rights to which all humans should be entitled. Leaving a crime of such magnitude unrecognised conveys a dangerous message of impunity: that a crime unpunished is a crime encouraged.
It is the UK’s role and duty as a global leader to recognise the Armenian Genocide, advancing genocide studies globally and increasing public understanding of crimes against humanity. Contrary to the Turkish government’s claims, it will not risk the UK’s trade relationship. Over the past two decades, France, Belgium and Canada’s trade volumes with Turkey have increased 257%, 174% and 148% respectively, despite their recognition of the Genocide in the same time period.
Last, there is precedent for genocide recognition by the UK in cases analogous to the Armenian Genocide. In April 2021, the UK Parliament rightfully declared that China is committing a genocide in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims, despite that genocide not being recognised by a competent court. This invalidates the UK’s stance on the Armenian Genocide, that “any determination of genocide should only be made by competent courts, rather than government or non-judicial bodies.”
Britain is one of the few leading Western countries that does not recognise the Armenian Genocide, indicating a gross failure to uphold the fundamental notions of justice to which it is committed. Tim Loughton’s Bill presents the UK with an opportunity to correct its record of injustice and impunity.