On 9th November, the first hearing of the Armenian Genocide Bill will take place in the House of Commons. This Private Members Bill will be presented as a Ten-Minute Rule Motion by Conservative MP Tim Loughton.
The Bill’s aim is to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance. It contains three main provisions. First, that there shall be a formal recognition that the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the surrounding regions during 1915-1923 were genocide. Second, that there shall be an annual commemoration of victims of genocides, including the Armenian Genocide. Third, that it will encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is essential for the UK’s national interests for several reasons. First, 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. Second, 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. Third, 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.
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.”
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 this record of injustice and impunity.
The Armenian National Committee of the UK and the Armenian community of the UK urge the government to recognise the Armenian Genocide, in order to uphold British values and preserve the integrity of our nation. We wholeheartedly support this Bill brought forward by Tim Loughton.
Armenian National Committee UK