Iowa Becomes 47th State to Officially Recognize the Armenian Genocide

Governor Kim Reynolds Declares Oct. 2017 ‘Armenia Awareness Month’ During Official Signing Ceremony with ANCA Eastern Region, Human Rights Coalition Leaders, and Clergy

(armenianweekly.com) DES MOINES, Iowa—Moments ago, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation memorializing the Armenian Genocide and declaring Oct. 2017 as “Armenia Awareness Month” in the Hawkeye State. Iowa is now the 47th U.S. state to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The signing was attended by members of the Armenian community, including Father Tadeos Barseghyan of the St. Sahag Armenian Church of Minnesota, and Armen Sahakyan of the Armenian National Committee of America—Eastern Region (ANCA-ER). St. Sahag is the closest Armenian church serving the Armenian-American community of Iowa.

“Iowa’s commemoration and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide strikes a powerful blow against the hatred and intolerance which contribute to the ongoing vicious cycle of genocide plaguing society to this day,” said Sahakyan, an ANCA-ER Board Member. Sahakyan spent a portion of his youth living in Iowa. “We would like to thank Governor Reynolds, Representative Art Staed, and all of our coalition partners for their principled stance in ensuring that truth prevails against international attempts to subvert justice for this and all other crimes against humanity,” he added.

The Philos Project Executive Director Robert Nicholson noted, “The Ottoman genocide of the Armenian people was one of the most brutal acts in history and clear evidence that evil still moves in the world. To deny the genocide is to ignore that evil, and to ignore that evil is to betray our values as Americans. By recognizing the genocide, the people of Iowa are declaring their willingness to defend human life, protect minority communities, and preserve our national heritage. We at The Philos Project thank and congratulate Governor Reynolds for her boldness and moral clarity. She epitomizes the kind of principled leader we need more of today.”

Iraqi Christian Relief Council Board Member Denise Bubeck said, “This is an important step in standing up for the many Christians who have lost their lives by injustice. As a Christian, I believe that every life deserves dignity and respect just as God values every human life so this proclamation gives me an opportunity again to speak for the value of every life no matter their faith.”

“Mankind must seek justice for those whose lives are brutally altered for all of history,” said President of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and the Senior Fellow for the Philos Project Juliana Taimoorazy. “This marks a historic step forward towards this sacred endeavor.”

Coordinator for the Iowans for Armenia Charles Crawley said, “As a civilized humanity, we all should care about the Armenian Genocide and all other crimes against humanity. ‘Iowans for Armenia’ is proud to continue the relationship created between the American and Armenian people that stretches back to the humanitarian assistance provided by the missionaries and people of good conscience of our great state through the Near East Relief. Today’s signing of the proclamation was an important step in securing some measure of justice for the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek people.”

Noting that the Ottoman Turkish government’s crime “still requires justice,” Gov. Reynolds’ proclamation cited Adolf Hitler’s ominous reference to the murder of the Armenian people just days prior to his invasion of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust, which claimed the lives of over 6 million Jews and resulted in the decimation of other targeted racial and religious minorities. The document recounts the cycle of subsequent genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries, specifically citing the 2016 Congressional condemnation of the Islamic State genocide against Middle East Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities. It concludes with the assertion that by “recognizing and consistently remembering the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny.”

Below is footage of the signing ceremony, which took place at the Iowa State Assembly. The ANCA-ER webcast the signing ceremony live from Governor Reynolds’ formal office.

Iowa’s recognition comes a little more than three months after the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 191, titled “Recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” on May 19, and becoming the 46th state in the U.S. to officially classify and commemorate the 1915-1923 annihilation of Ottoman Turkey’s indigenous Armenian community as genocide.

The State of Iowa proclamation can be read in its entirety, below.

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State of Iowa
Executive Department
In The Name and By The Authority of The State of Iowa

PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, from 1915-1923 during the Armenian Genocide, one and one-half million ethnic Armenian men, women and children as well as over one million Greeks, Assyrians, Syriacs and others were massacred as part of the planned complete eradication of those indigenous communities by the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the first modern genocide that still requires justice; and
WHEREAS, prior to the implementation of the Holocaust, in order to garner support from his followers, Adolf Hitler asked, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”; and
WHEREAS, the Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945 – six million Jews were murdered; Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic or national reasons; and millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny; and
WHEREAS, other cases of genocide include the killings in Cambodia in 1975, the massacres in Bosnia in 1992, the slaughter in Rwanda in 1994 and now in the 21st century, the displacements and deaths in Darfur as well as targeting of religious minorities by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East; and
WHEREAS, the United States House of Representatives has adopted H.Con.Res. 75, declaring the atrocities perpetrated by the ISIL against Christians, Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; and
WHEREAS, by recognizing and consistently remembering the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of October, 2017 as
ARMENIA AWARENESS MONTH

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I HAVE
HEREUNTO SUBSCRIBED MY NAME AND
CAUSED THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF
IOWA TO BE AFFIXED. DONE AT DES
MOINES THIS 24TH DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR
OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN.
__________________________________
KIM REYNOLDS
GOVERNOR OF IOWA
ATTEST:
__________________________________
PAUL D. PATE
SECRETARY OF STATE

Victorian Young Labor Conference passes motion recognising Armenian Genocide

(ANC-AU) MELBOURNE: On 19-20 August, Victorian Young Labor held its Annual Conference at the Victorian Trades Hall in Melbourne, where delegates gathered for lively debate and passed various motions including a motion to recognise the Armenian Genocide, which was adopted without dissent.

The motion noted: “Raphael Lemkin invented the word genocide, based on defining the Armenian Genocide, in order to describe the systematic and brutal murder of an ethnic and religious minority… in 2017, a first major Hollywood film set during the events of the Armenian Genocide was aired to audiences around the world titled ‘The Promise’, further raising mass awareness of the issue.”

“Victorian Young Labor condemns the genocide of over one and a half million Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks at the hands of the then Ottoman Empire and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance.”

The motion called for the Victorian State and Commonwealth governments to officially recognise the Armenian Genocide.

Victorian Young Labor Conference delegate Ariel Zohar, who moved the motion, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Victorian Young Labor, the largest democratic youth political body in Victoria, unanimously supported the motion and committed to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide.”

“Hopefully this motion contributes to the increasing global pressure for the Turkish state to pay reparations to the descendants of the victims and to the Armenian community for whom justice has still not yet been received.”

“With the South Australian and NSW Parliaments already passing similar motions of support, it is now up to the Victorian and Australian parliaments to follow suit,” Zohar added.

Armenian National Committee of Australia – Melbourne (ANC-AU Melbourne) chairperson, Asbed Boymoushakian congratulated and thanked Victorian Young Labor for their unanimous support and strength in standing up for truth and justice.

“This is motion is part of the tidal wave of growing pressure with countries and organisations around the world having already adopted similar motions calling for recognition,” he said.

“I call on all political parties and their youth wings to adopt the same stance, educate their members about the Armenian Genocide and stand shoulder to shoulder with many of the victims’ families and descendants, many of whom are fortunate to now call Australia home.”

See full text below:

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Preamble

The Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) was the first genocide of the 20th century. Historian Raphael Lemkin invented the word genocide, based on defining the Armenian Genocide in order to describe the systematic and brutal murder of an ethnic and religious minority. The Armenian Genocide victims were subjected to mass deportations, mass killings, forced starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics which ravaged the forced areas in which people lived in terrible conditions.

In 2017, a first major Hollywood film to set during the events of the Armenian Genocide was aired to audience all around the world, The Promise, further raising mass awareness of this issue. Over 100 years on the successor state to the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) still denies these events ever occurred despite 29 countries around the world today, as well as 46 states of the United States, recognising the Armenian Genocide. In Australia the New South Wales and South Australian Parliaments have officially recognised the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide.

Platform:

1. Victorian Young Labor joins the members of the Armenian-Australian community in honouring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were victims of Armenian Genocide between 1915-1923 by formally recognising the tragic horrors of the Armenian Genocide.

2. Victorian Young Labor condemns the genocide of over one and a half million Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks at the hands of the then Ottoman Empire and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance.

3. Victorian Young Labor recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated.

4. Victorian Young Labor acknowledges the significant humanitarian contribution made by the people of Victoria to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

Action:

1. Victoria Young Labor will write to the Premier and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs calling for the Victorian State and Commonwealth Government to officially recognise and The Armenian Genocide.

2. Victorian Young Labor will raise awareness, calling for Recognition, through a targeted campaign centred around April 24, the International Day for The Armenian Genocide Commemoration.

3. Victorian Young Labor will host a screening of The Promise coinciding ith April 24th to better educate it’s members on the significance of this dark chapter of human history.

Moved: Ariel Zohar
Seconded: Sam Roberts

Texas Becomes 46th U.S. State to Recognize Armenian Genocide

(ancawr.org) Austin, TX — The Texas House of Representatives passed House Resolution 191, titled “Recognizing the Armenian genocide,” today, thus making The Lone Star State the 46th state in the USA to officially classify and commemorate the 1915-1923 annihilation of Ottoman Turkey’s indigenous Christian Armenian community as genocide.

“We are grateful to the Texas House of Representatives for standing on the right side of history by making their dynamic state the latest member of our Union to unequivocally and vociferously honor the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide despite overwhelming Turkish opposition,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.

Texas State Representative Scott Sanford, a longtime advocate for Armenian Genocide awareness, gives remarks at the ANCA-Dallas ‘Texas We Thank You’ Gala after accepting the Advocate of Justice award on April 2, 2016.
Texas State Representative Scott Sanford, a longtime advocate for Armenian Genocide awareness, gives remarks at the ANCA-Dallas ‘Texas We Thank You’ Gala after accepting the Advocate of Justice award on April 2, 2016.

“This incredible victory, which achieves universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Western Region’s 19 states, was possible because of the outstanding unity and activism demonstrated by the diverse Armenian community of Texas, the unflinching leadership of State Representative Scott Sanford and his fellow lawmakers, as well as the dedication and persistent work of our grassroots – ANCA-Houston and ANCA-Dallas – and staff. While many Texan Armenians and community groups were instrumental in the passage of and building ground for HR191, I would like to specifically recognize the former ANCA-Dallas founding chair Lucia Nazarian for initiating Texas’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as Focused Advocacy President Brandon Todd Aghamalian and University of Texas Austin Professor and Armenian Church of Austin representative Mihran Aroian for their leadership in bringing the Armenian community together to make this important recognition a reality,” continued Hovsepian.

The resolution, which had over 50 original bipartisan cosponsors and passed unanimously, declares, in part, that “During World War I, the crumbling Ottoman Empire began a systematic campaign to eradicate its Armenian population, which then numbered more than two million; and… as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished and today, only 3 million live in Armenia, a country that covers no more than 10 percent of the ancient Armenian homeland, while the Armenian diaspora numbers 8 to 10 million in countries around the world, including the United States,” concluding with the resolved clause “That the House of Representatives of the 85th Texas Legislature hereby recognize the Armenian genocide.”

The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Texas follows renewed activism in The Lone Star State, including the 2015 defeat of anti-Armenian resolutions as well as adoption of HR 1541, which recognized Texans’ contributions to the Near East Relief that saved 132,000 orphans of the Armenian Genocide. The latter humanitarian effort was recognized by ANCA-Dallas during its April 2, 2016 ‘Texas We Thank You’ Gala, at which Rep. Sanford received the ANCA-Dallas Advocate of Justice award for his long-time support for Armenian Genocide awareness.

HR 191 was introduced by Rep. Sanford on January 26, followed by a public hearing in the International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs committee on April 24, during which ANCA-WR Chief Legislative Consultant Haig Baghdassarian joined a large group of Armenian Americans as well as representatives from the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and Houston’s Holocaust Museum in testifying in support of HR 191. Following the testimony, ANCA-WR called its online activists in Texas to action, as a result of which hundreds of letters were emailed to state legislators. Many more phone calls were made through joint efforts of the Armenian community in a strong demonstration of unity and grassroots activism.

Texas’ passage of HR 191 follows the Wyoming Governor’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide in April 2017, thus completing universal recognition in the ANCA-Western Region, which consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. An interactive map of all US states’ official record on the Armenian Genocide is available on https://anca.org/us-genocide-recognition/.

The full text of the Texas House resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide is available on ftp://ftp.legis.state.tx.us/bills/85R/billtext/html/house_resolutions/HR00100_HR00199/HR00191I.htm.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

85R6921 BPG-D

By: Sanford H.R. No. 191

R E S O L U T I O N
WHEREAS, During World War I, the crumbling Ottoman Empire
began a systematic campaign to eradicate its Armenian population,
which then numbered more than two million; and
WHEREAS, Armenians and other minority populations had
contributed to the prosperity of the once-mighty empire for
centuries, but as its borders shrank and its influence diminished,
ethnic tensions flared; after the Ottomans entered World War I,
their armies suffered heavy losses to Russian forces in the
Caucasus, and Armenians in the region were accused of aiding the
Russian victory; on April 24, 1915, the government arrested several
hundred Armenian intellectuals, who were later executed; Armenian
soldiers were disarmed and transferred to labor battalions, in
which they were worked to death or killed outright; and
WHEREAS, In the spring and summer of 1915, under the guise of
“resettlement,” Armenians were driven from their homes in Armenia
and Anatolia and herded through the Syrian desert to concentration
camps; many of the deportees died along the way from hunger, thirst,
and exhaustion, while others were massacred; by 1918, an estimated
one million Armenians had lost their lives, and survivors endured
tremendous hardships as refugees; and
WHEREAS, The end of the war brought a temporary respite, but
in 1920, the atrocities resumed until the ultimate collapse of the
empire and formation of the Republic of Turkey; as many as 1.5
million Armenians perished and today, only 3 million live in
Armenia, a country that covers no more than 10 percent of the
ancient Armenian homeland, while the Armenian diaspora numbers 8 to
10 million in countries around the world, including the United
States; and
WHEREAS, In 1915, the governments of France, Great Britain,
and Russia decried the slaughter of Armenians as “a crime against
humanity”; American ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who led the
humanitarian response, characterized the imperial deportation
orders as “the death warrant to a whole race”; the persecution is
considered genocide by most historians and has been officially
acknowledged as such by numerous countries, among them France,
Argentina, Greece, and Russia; this horrific event is a dark
chapter in modern history, and the world must never forget the
suffering of the Armenian people; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 85th Texas
Legislature hereby recognize the Armenian genocide.

Czech Chamber of Deputies recognises the Armenian Genocide

(orer.eu) Prague-This evening, the Czech Republic’s Lower House of Parliament adopted a resolution, by which it recognised the Armenian Genocide.

Czech Chamber of Deputies Approves Armenian Genocide Resolution (FOTO: ČTK)
Czech Chamber of Deputies Approves Armenian Genocide Resolution (FOTO: ČTK)

The resolution partly states: “The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic condemns the crimes against humanity committed against the Jews, Roma and Slavs in the territories conquered by the Nazis during the Second World War; condemns the Armenian Genocide and genocides of other ethnic and religious minorities which took place within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, as well as genocidal acts committed in other parts of the globe, and calls on the international community to effectively halt human and civilian rights violations in the world as well as resolve disputes through peaceful means…”

In reality, this is the first time that members of the Chamber of Deputies have used the word genocide. The resolution was presented by a member of the Social Democrat Party, the Head of the Czech-Armenian Friendship Group, Robin Bohnisch.

As orer.eu was informed through its parliamentary sources, 104 voted for, and none against (Vote No. 414).

A resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide had earlier been passed by the International Relations Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, on 14th April 2015.

Usnesení No. 413

Poslanecká sněmovna Parlamentu České republiky odsuzuje zločiny proti lidskosti prováděné nacisty v letech 2. světové války na židovském, romském a slovanském obyvatelstvu ovládnutých území, genocidu Arménů a dalších národnostních a náboženských menšin na území Osmanské říše v období 1. světové války, jakož i další genocidní násilí kdekoli na Zemi, a vyzývá mezinárodní společenství k účinné prevenci porušování lidských a občanských práv ve světě a k řešení sporů mírovými prostředky.

Wyoming Becomes 45th US State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

(ANCA WR) Cheyenne, WY — In a letter dated April 21, 2017 and addressed to the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR), Wyoming Governor Matthew H. Mead has recognized the Armenian Genocide and praised the work of Armenian American grassroots.

“The atrocities of both the Armenian and Jewish Holocausts were unimaginable,” reads Governor Mead’s letter, “but it is important for all to remember – history must not repeat itself.” The letter also recalls a meeting with senior ANCA-WR staff earlier this year, when Executive Director Elen Asatryan and Community Development Coordinator Simon Maghakyan visited Cheyenne, adding that “The work of the Armenian National Committee is inspiring.” Referencing the upcoming April 23 commemoration in Denver, Governor Mead concludes his letter with, “My thoughts are with you as you gather for the Colorado State Capitol Armenian Genocide Commemoration.” The full letter is here.

“We thank the Governor of the Great State of Wyoming for standing on the right side of history and adding his voice to the ongoing need to recognize and commemorate the Armenian Genocide,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian. “This recognition is a tribute to the memory of our ancestors and a celebration of the brave work of many Wyomingites who supported the national Near East Relief effort of building and operating 400 orphanages for over 132,000 Armenian children who survived the genocide. Last but not least, this recognition is a testament to the tireless work of our grassroots activists and dedicated staff,” continued Hovsepian.

The news of Wyoming’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide also received praise by elected officials and activists in the Equality State. “I congratulate the Governor for his courageous stance on this moral issue amid lavish anti-Armenian lobbying in Wyoming, which has included all-inclusive junkets to the dictatorship of Azerbaijan by legislators across our nation, who should know better than hobnobbing with bloody dictators that behead Christian Armenians and destroy ancient Armenian churches and Djulfa cross-stones,” remarked Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard. “The Armenian Genocide is an unpunished crime that needs to be recognized and accounted for; Turkey’s ongoing denial of this grave crime, illegal blockade of Armenia and support for Azerbaijan’s genocidal policies against Armenia and Artsakh must end,” continued Sen. Bouchard.

Local ANCA activist Ani Gasparyan, a resident of Larimie, Wyoming, also praised the Governor for recognizing the Armenian Genocide: “As our community recalls the murder of 1.5 million people and the loss of the majority of our homeland, it warms our hearts to know that Governor Mead is recognizing the Armenian Genocide on its 102nd anniversary.”

Today’s victory comes after the ANCA-Western Region team drove down from Denver Colorado to the Equality State on the 29th of January and spent the day meeting with senators and representatives to educate them about the Armenian Genocide, Artsakh, the Armenian community, and discuss Armenian-American priorities. During the visit, Senator Bouchard, who during his recent election campaign connected with the ANCA-WR about his opponent’s junket to Azerbaijan and spoke forcefully against these dirty tactics on the campaign trail, welcomed the ANCA-WR team by connecting them to the Governor’s office and other elected officials. Before the sun rose the next morning, joined by the Chair of the State Revenue Committee Ray Peterson, the ANCA-WR met with the Governor and discussed, among other topics, the heroic efforts of Wyomingites during the Genocide, Turkey’s continued denial of the mass murder of 1.5 million Christian Armenians and the need for proper recognition, restitution and reparations against this unpunished crime against humanity.

“We extend our deep gratitude to Governor Mead, Senators Bouchard and Peterson, and the elected leaders for their leadership, taking the time to learn about Armenian American issues and supporting the Armenian community of Wyoming and the entire United States, as well as standing by the world’s first Christian nation as it continues to address the ongoing security and economic consequences of the Armenian Genocide,” remarked Executive Director Elen Asatryan.

For a complete list of the 45 states that have recognized the Armenian Genocide, visit: https://anca.org/us-genocide-recognition/

To learn more about the ANCA-WR visit www.ancawr.org.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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Danish Parliament Passes Questionable Bill Regarding Armenian Genocide

Bill Challenges Turkey’s Restrictions on Armenian Genocide Speech

(armenianweekly.com) COPENHAGEN, Denmark—The Danish Parliament (Folketing) adopted a new resolution regarding the Armenian Genocide on Jan. 26, which recognizes the “tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915-1923,” and states that the best way for reconciliation is through open dialogue on the basis of a “free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period.”

While the bill criticizes Turkey and the fact that the term “genocide” cannot freely be used by its citizens and media, it does not specifically label the Armenian Genocide as such—except for in its title. The bill also states that the Parliament “maintains its parliamentary tradition not to issue judgments about historical events.”

After over two hours of discussion on the document brought to the Folketing agenda by Parliamentarians Nick Hækkerup, Søren Espersen, Michael Aastrup Jensen, Henrik Dahl, Martin Lidegaard, and Naser Khader, the Danish Parliament voted 89 to 9 with 11 abstentions to pass the measure.

“The Parliament confirms its decision no. V 54 of 19 May 2015 on the tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915-1923. The Danish Parliament finds that the best path to reconciliation will be an open dialogue about the story on the basis of a free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period. The Parliament regrets that Turkish law prohibits citizens and media to use the term ‘genocide’ about the events, and considers this to be an unreasonable restriction of both academic freedom as freedom of expression relates to the use of this term. Parliament maintains its parliamentary tradition not to issue judgments about historical events,” reads the adopted bill.

In 2015, the Danish Parliament adopted a measure, which recognized the “deportations, massacres and other atrocities” that had been committed against the Armenian population Anatolia in 1915-1923. In that bill, the Parliament expressed hope that there can be “reconciliation and normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey,” and called on both governments to work towards that.

In 2008, then Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Per Stig Møller has said in a written parliamentary answer that in the Danish government’s opinion, the issue of the Armenian Genocide is a “historical question that should be left up to the historians,” indicating that Denmark would not recognize the genocide.

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Forslag til vedtagelse V 26 Om det armenske folkedrab.

Af Nick Hækkerup (S) , Søren Espersen (DF) , Michael Aastrup Jensen (V) , Henrik Dahl (LA) , Martin Lidegaard (RV) , Naser Khader (KF)

Samling: 2016-17
Status: Vedtaget

Om forslag til vedtagelse

Sagsgang

Fremsat 19-01-2017

Ministerområde

Forslag til vedtagelse
Folketinget bekræfter sin vedtagelse nr. V 54 af 19. maj 2015 vedrørende de tragiske og blodige begivenheder, som udspillede sig i det østlige Anatolien i perioden 1915-1923. Folketinget finder, at den bedste vej til forsoning vil være en åben dialog om historien på grundlag af en fri og ucensureret historieforskning, herunder frigivelse af alle officielle dokumenter fra perioden. Folketinget beklager, at tyrkisk lovgivning forbyder borgere og medier at bruge betegnelsen »folkedrab« om begivenhederne, og finder, at dette udgør en urimelig begrænsning af såvel forskningsfriheden som ytringsfriheden uden hermed at forholde sig til anvendelsen af denne benævnelse. Folketinget fastholder dermed sin parlamentariske tradition for ikke at udstede domme over historiske begivenheder.

Vedtaget 89 stemmer for forslaget (S, DF, V, LA, RV, KF) 9 stemmer imod forslaget (EL) 11 stemmer hverken for eller imod forslaget (ALT, Zenia Stampe (RV), SF). Zenia Stampe (RV) stemte ved en fejl hverken for eller imod forslaget.

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Forslag til vedtagelse V 54 Om det armenske folkedrab.

Af Jacob Lund (S) , Lone Loklindt (RV) , Holger K. Nielsen (SF) , Lars Barfoed (KF)

Samling: 2014-15 (1. samling)
Status: Vedtaget

Om forslag til vedtagelse

Sagsgang

Fremsat 12-05-2015

Ministerområde

Forslag til vedtagelse
I anledning af 100-året for de tvangsdeportationer, massakrer og andre overgreb på armeniere, der udspillede sig i det østlige Anatolien i perioden 1915-23, understreger Folketinget vigtigheden af at respektere alle nationale, etniske og religiøse mindretals rettigheder i regionen. Folketinget udtrykker håb om, at der kan ske en forsoning og en normalisering af forholdet mellem Armenien og Tyrkiet, opfordrer begge landes regeringer til at arbejde herfor og noterer sig, at en fortsat forbedring af Tyrkiets respekt for landets etniske, religiøse og nationale mindretal vil kunne bidrage hertil.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights Produces Film about Armenian Genocide

(horizonweekly.com) TORONTO, Ontario—In partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), the Armenian National Committee of Canada co-organized the premiere of the museum’s new film about the Armenian Genocide, “Acts of Conscience: Armin T. Wegner and the Armenian Genocide” on October 13th, 2016.

Scene from “Acts of Conscience: Armin T. Wegner and the Armenian Genocide” (Photo: Armenian National Committee of Canada)
Scene from “Acts of Conscience: Armin T. Wegner and the Armenian Genocide” (Photo: Armenian National Committee of Canada)

The event took place at the Armenian Youth Centre of Toronto and attracted hundreds of community members and supporters of the ANCC and CMHR. The event was also attended by Peter Farenholtz, Consul General of Germany in Canada, MP Arnold Chan. Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt and Chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Councilor Jim Karygiannis, Toronto City Councilor, TDSB Trustees and a large number of activists.

After the screening of the documentary, the event featured a discussion with renowned Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, who narrated the short documentary which will play in the Museum’s “Breaking the Silence” gallery.

Subsequently, remarks were delivered by CMHR president and CEO, John Young, MP Arnold Chan – who also read a statement from The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau – and Councilor Jim Karygiannis, Toronto city councilor. Closing remarks were delivered by ANCC president, Shahen Mirakian. In his remarks, Mirakian said that it is only through our concerted efforts that we can stay true to our commitment and carry on the legacy of Wegner by standing up against any forms of injustice towards humanity.

The film “Acts of Conscience” looks at the genocide through the lens of Armin T. Wegner, a German war medic who photographed and documented atrocities against the Armenian-Christian minority that were occurring around him in the Ottoman Empire during the first World War – including forced “death marches” through the desert. In the 1930s, Wegner also voiced his opposition to the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis and authored an impassioned plea to Hitler on behalf of the Jews of Germany.

Compelled by his conscience to take action despite great personal risk, Wegner’s story epitomizes the importance of efforts to combat the denial and minimization that often surround gross human rights violations.

An exhibit at the CMHR explores the efforts for recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Wegner and others. In 2004, the Canadian Parliament voted to officially acknowledge and condemn the Armenian Genocide.

The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.

A beautiful mosque and the dark period of the Armenian genocide

By ROBERT FISK


The city of Gaziantep and the ‘Liberation’ mosque is a milestone on the journey between one great crime of the 20th century, and another seen during the Second World War

(independent.co.uk) The ‘Liberation’ Mosque is a fine, neo-classical, almost Gothic construction with striped black-and-white stone banding, unusual for a Muslim holy place but a jewel in the Tepebasi district of the old town of Gaziantep. Its stone carvings and mock Grecian columns beside the window frames are a credit to another, gentler age. The minarets perch delicately – and I had never seen this before – on square towers that might have been church towers had there been Christians in this ancient city.

The 'Liberation' mosque as it is today. Nelofer Pazira.
The ‘Liberation’ mosque as it is today. Nelofer Pazira.

But of course, there were. What no-one will tell you in Gaziantep, what no guidebook mentions, what no tourist guide will refer to, is that this very building – whose 19th century builders were none other than the nephews of the official architect of Sultan Abdulhamid II – was the Holy Mother of God cathedral for at least 20,000 Christian Armenians who were victims of the greatest war crime of the 1914-18 war: the Armenian genocide. They were deported by the Ottoman Turks from this lovely city, which had been their families’ home for hundreds of years, to be executed into common graves. The murderers were both Turks and Kurds.

Altogether, up to 32,000 Armenians – almost the entire Christian population of 36,000 of what was then called Antep – were deported towards the Syrian cities of Hama, Homs, Selimiyeh, to the Hauran and to Deir Ezzor in 1915. The Muslim citizens of Aintep then apparently plundered the empty homes of those they had dispossessed, seizing not only their property but the treasures of the cathedral church itself. Indeed, the church, ‘Surp Asdvazdadzin Kilisesi’ in Armenian, was turned into a warehouse – as were many Jewish synagogues in Nazi Germany and in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe during the Second World War – and then into a prison.

Prowling around the church-mosque enclosure, I found some of the prison bars still attached to the window frames, although the building has been functioning as a mosque since 1986. The main gate was closed but I pushed it open and found not only that the structure of the magnificent building is still intact but that scaffolding has been placed against the walls for a renovation. Behind the church – and separate from the building – was an ancient stone cave whose interior was blackened with what must have been the smoke of candle flames from another era, perhaps a worshipping place because the cave appears to have been a tomb in antiquity. The caretaker came fussing up to us to tell us that the mosque was shut, that we must leave, that this was a closed place. But he was a friendly soul and let us take pictures of the great façade of the church and of the minarets.

The only sign of its origin is the date “1892” carved in stone on the east façade of the original church, marking the final completion of the work of the great Armenian architect Sarkis Balian – he was the official architect of the 19th century Sultan Abdulhamid II, a terrible irony since Abdulhamid himself began the first round of Armenian massacres of 80,000 Christians (the figure might be 300,000) in Ottoman Turkey just two years after the Armenian stonemason Sarkis Tascian carved the date on the façade. In the later 1915 Armenian Holocaust – even Israelis use this word for the Armenian genocide – a million and a half Armenians were slaughtered by the Turks. It is a shock to realize that Aintep’s vast toll of dead were only a small fraction of this terrifying war crime.

Outside the church, I found an elderly Syrian refugee sitting on the pavement by the closed gate. He greeted us in Arabic and said that, yes, he knew this was once a church. Just over a century ago, the Arabs of northern Syria – the land now occupied by Isis – were among the only friends the Armenians found in the vast deserts into which they were sent to die. Some took Armenian children into their homes. Others married Armenian women – the degree of coercion involved in this ‘charitable’ act depends on the teller — although more than twenty years ago I met a Syrian man and his ‘converted’ Armenian wife near Deir Ezzor, both around a hundred years old and both of whom has lost count of their great-great-grandchildren.

A Turkish man in a shop below the cathedral was less generous. Yes, it had been a church, he said. But when I asked him if it had been an Armenian church, he chuckled – dare I call it a smirk? — and looked at me, and said nothing. I suppose a kind of guilt hangs over a place like this. So it is a happy thought that some Armenian families have in recent years – as tourists, of course – visited the city that was once Antep and have spoken with warmth to members of Turkey’s leftist parties and celebrated the work of American missionaries who cared for both the Armenian and Turkish Muslim population here before 1915. One Armenian identified his old family home and the Turkish family who lived there invited him in and insisted that he should stay with them and not in a hotel. For this was also his home, they said.

But tears of compassion do not dry up the truth. For when the First World War ended, Allied troops marched into Antep. First came the British, led by the execrable Sir Mark Sykes – of Sykes-Picot infamy – and then the French in October 1919, who brought with them, alas, elements of the Armenian volunteers who had joined their ‘Legion d’Orient’ in Port Said. The Muslim elites who had taken over the town – and the Armenian homes and properties – feared the newcomers would demand restitution. Fighting broke out between Muslims and the French and their Armenian allies and the Muslims discovered a new-found enthusiasm for the independence struggle of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Thus began the false history of the city.

Perhaps the greatest font of knowledge on this period is a young Harvard scholar, Umit Kurt, of Kurdish-Arab origin, who was born in modern-day Gaziantep. Mr Kurt is now an academic at Harvard’s Center for Middle East Studies and wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Armenians of Antep from the 1890s with a special focus – this is the important bit for readers – on property transfers, confiscation, deportation and massacres. Mr Kurt’s conclusion is bleak.

“The famous battle of Aintab [sic] against the French,” he says, “…seems to have been as much the organised struggle of a group of genocide profiteers seeking to hold onto their loot as it was a fight against an occupying force. The resistance…sought to make it impossible for the Armenian repatriates to remain in their native towns, terrorising them [again] in order to make them flee. In short, not only did the local…landowners, industrialists and civil-military bureaucratic elites lead to the resistance movement, but they also financed it in order to cleanse Aintab of Armenians.”

They were successful. The French abandoned Antep in December 1919 and the Armenian volunteers fled with them. The new Turkish state awarded the Muslim fighters of the city with the honourific Turkish prefix ‘Gazi’ – “veterans” – and thus Antep became Gaziantep and the great church of old Sarkis Balian would eventually be renamed the ‘Liberation Mosque’ – “Kurtulus Cami” – to mark the same dubious victory over the French and Armenians, the latter being defamed as killers by those who had sent the Armenians of the city to their doom in 1915.

Not much justice there. Nor in the official Turkish version of that terrible history of the Armenian Holocaust in which – this is the least the Turkish government will concede – Armenians died ‘tragically’ in the chaos of the First World War, as did Muslims themselves. German military advisers witnessed the genocide. Hitler was later to ask his generals, before the invasion of Poland and the destruction of its Jews, who now, in 1939, remembered the Armenians. The official Turkish account of the fate of Gaziantep’s original Armenians refers to their “relocation” – a word used by the Nazis when they sent the Jews to their extermination in eastern Europe.

No, we shouldn’t contaminate the Turks of modern Turkey with the crimes of their grandfathers. Umir Kurt wrote his dissertation for the brilliant and brave Turkish historian Taner Akcam, whose work on the Armenian genocide has revolutionised historical scholarship in Turkey. Last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deliberately moved the date of the 1915 Gallipoli commemorations to the very day of the anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide in an attempt to smother any memory of the crime – but the government allowed Armenians to parade through Istanbul in honour of their 1915 dead. Yet if the historical narrative from the 20th century’s first holocaust to its second holocaust is valid, then the path upon which the first doomed Armenians of Antep set out in their convoy of deportation on 1st August 1915 led all the way to Auschwitz. The ‘Liberation’ Mosque is a milestone on the journey.

New Armenian Legal Center for Justice & Human Rights Launched

— International Institute to Seek Just Resolution of the Armenian Genocide; Defend Artsakh’s Right to Independence

YEREVAN – The Armenian Legal Center for Justice & Human Rights (ALC) – a new Washington, DC-based international legal institute was announced today at a press conference in Yerevan. The ALC will operate in the public interest and is dedicated to advancing sustainable solutions to the ongoing global, national, community, and individual costs and consequences of the Armenian Genocide.

With Armenian communities besieged around the world by an unrepentant Turkey that blockades and fans the flames of war against the Armenians of Armenia and Karabakh, denies religious and human rights to the indigenous Armenians of present-day Turkey, and attempts to silence the Diaspora communities around the world, the lack of accountability for the Genocide continues to grossly impact the human rights of Armenians today.

Through the use of national and international courts and forums, ALC will seek a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide and to defend Artsakh’s right to independence. ALC will seek to coordinate the claims of victims of human rights abuses, identify potential claimants, investigate abuses, and gather the necessary evidence.

“The ALC looks forward to working in concert with all quarters of the worldwide Armenian community, to address the geo-political, territorial and macro-economic implications of the Republic of Turkey’s and others’ responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, including those related to the Western Armenian homeland, the payment of reparations to the Republic of Armenia and relevant Diasporan and other stakeholders, and the future of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, whose independent status and regional security today face challenges in the international arena, in large measure, due to the Armenian Genocide,” explained Kenneth Hachikian, Chairman.

Parallel to its international and national level legal activity, the Center will focus on justice-based solutions to the vast array of collective properties and other assets stolen or confiscated during the Genocide, including those involving churches, religious sites, foundations, schools, museums, artwork, artifacts, books, and other resources.

ALC will document the expropriation of Armenian national, community, and personal properties in an effort to find lasting solutions for peace and stability in the region based on justice and accountability.

“The ALC – in seeking redress for the Genocide in national and international legal arenas – is committed to securing justice for all stakeholders, including those continuing to experience injury from this crime. More broadly, as an organization committed to the global human rights movement, the ALC will also work to prevent future atrocities by helping to establish legal precedents and promoting policy-making frameworks that align with international law and global humanitarian values,” said Giro Manoyan, ALC Board of Directors member.

At the turn of the century, the territory of modern-day Turkey was home to a large, ancient, and vibrant indigenous Christian population, comprised of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Pontians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs, accounting for around 25% of the population. Today, these same communities account for less than 0.1% of Turkey’s population, individuals have been prosecuted for discussing or writing about the genocide committed against them, and Turkey coordinates closely with Azerbaijan to blockade Armenia and Artsakh, inhabited by the grandchildren of the men and women it sought to annihilate.

Decades later, it is clear that a model based on justice not genocide is desperately needed. The ALC will fill this void.

Kate Nahapetian, an attorney with experience litigating class actions, who has advocated for Armenian Americans in Washington, DC for over ten years, will be ALC’s Executive Director. Ms. Nahapetian has worked previously for the Armenian National Committee of America, U.S. Department of Justice, then Senator Joseph Biden, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She received a J.D. with a focus on international and human rights law from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, which was partly funded through the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Ms. Nahapetian is a member of the California and New York bars, but not yet a member of the DC Bar. Her practice is currently limited to cases in federal court.

The ALC will be headquartered in Washington DC, but will have an international focus as will be appropriate for the various avenues that it seeks redress through. Board members are from both Armenia and the broad Diasporan community throughout the world.

The Board of Directors will be chaired by Kenneth Hachikian (USA), long active in advocacy efforts for our community, and includes Garo Armenian (USA), Steve Dadaian (USA), Hagop Der Khatchadourian (Canada), Kevork Hagopjian (Austria), Raffi Hamparian (USA), Khajaque Kortian (Australia), Giro Manoyan (Armenia), Edvin Minassian (USA), Yervant Pamboukian (Lebanon), Raffi Sarkissian (Canada), Dr. Henry Theriault (USA), Dr. Vladimir Vardanyan (Armenia), and Vahe Yacoubian (USA).

There will also be a broadly representative Advisory Board consisting of experts in international law, human rights and in other fields relevant to the work of the ALC.

The ALC was started with a generous grant from the ANCA Endowment Fund and will be seeking community financial and moral support to expand its efforts.

To learn more and donate, please visit www.armenianlegal.org.

Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights

1711 N Street NW

Washington, DC 20036

(202) 742-8702

contact@armenianlegal.org

Contact: Kate Nahapetian

Tel: (202) 742-8702

The Andean Parliament Recognized the Armenian Genocide and Condemned Denialism

(prensaarmenia.com.ar) The Andean Parliament, a legislative body composed of representatives of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, approved on September 17 a resolution recognizing the “Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the authorities of the Ottoman Empire between the years 1915-1923” and condemning “any policy of denial with respect to genocide and crimes against humanity suffered by the Armenian nation.”

The resolution, presented by Pedro de la Cruz, representative of Ecuador, and approved unanimously at a meeting of the organization in Montevideo, expresses its solidarity with the Armenian people and communities of the diaspora, while “urging” the international community to “acknowledge this historical fact as an unconditional support for truth and justice and as a form of rejection of such acts that shame all humanity.”

The Andean Parliament is the “governing body and representative of the peoples of the Andean Community,” according to a constitutive treaty of October 25, 1979. Its work focuses on the “parliamentary management, policy development and popular representation on issues related the Andean integration process such as education, mobility, migration, social and labor rights, energy, environment and climate change, coexistence and security, food security and sovereignty, competitiveness and entrepreneurship, among others.”

Gaceta Oficial
Del Parlamento Andino

Año: 13 #09 Bogotá D.C. Septiembre 2016
www.parlamentoandino.org

INSTRUMENTOS DE PRONUNCIAMIENTO APROBADOS POR LA MESA DIRECTIVA
Aprobadas en la Sesión de la Mesa Directiva del 23 Y 24 de agosto de 2016 en la ciudad de Bogotá, República de Colombia.

PROYECTO DE RESOLUCIÓN No. 07-09-2016 MEDIANTE LA CUAL SE RECONOCE Y CONDENA EL GENOCIDIO DEL PUEBLO ARMENIO

CONSIDERANDO
Que, el Parlamento Andino es el órgano deliberante del Sistema, su naturaleza es comunitaria y representativa.
Que, uno de los objetivos del Parlamento Andino es velar por el respeto a los derechos humanos y a la calidad de vida de la población, en el marco de los objetivos e instrumentos de la integración subregional y de la comunidad internacional;
Que, el Tratado de Institucionalización y el Estatuto del Parlamento Andino, en sus PRINCIPIOS y PROPÓSITOS, establecen la condena a la amenaza y al uso de la fuerza contra la independencia política y la integridad territorial de los Estados; y, proclaman la solución pacífica, justa y negociada de las controversias internacionales; así como, contribuir a la afirmación de la paz, la seguridad y el orden jurídico internacionales y luchar por el desarme mundial, combatiendo el armamentismo y la agresión de quienes sustenten la política de la fuerza;
Que, el 24 de abril del año 2016, se conmemoró 101 años del genocidio del pueblo Armenio, perpetrado entre los años 1915 – 1923, cuando las autoridades del imperio Otomano llevaron a cabo un programa de arrestos y deportaciones y posteriormente matanzas de la población civil en los territorios de Armenia occidental y Anatolia; con el trágico resultado de más de un millón quinientas mil personas asesinadas;
Que, investigaciones realizadas por historiadores internacionales, hombres y mujeres de distintas nacionalidades y la existencia de pruebas documentales de diverso origen, han demostrado la veracidad de los actos de genocidio contra el pueblo Armenio, hechos en los que se identifican todas las categorías establecidas en la Convención para la Prevención y la Sanción del Delito del Genocidio, adoptada por la Asamblea General de la ONU en 1948;
Que, la Convención de la ONU de 1948 establece que genocidio es cualquiera de los siguientes actos, perpetrados con la intención de destruir total o parcialmente a un grupo nacional, étnico, racial o religioso: (i) Matanza de miembros de un grupo; (ii) lesión grave a
la integridad física o mental de los miembros del grupo; (iii) Sometimiento intencional del grupo a condiciones de existencia que hayan de acarrear su destrucción física, total o parcial; (iv) medidas destinadas a impedir los nacimientos en el seno del grupo; y, (v) traslado por fuerza de niños del grupo a otro grupo.
Que, las colectividades armenias asentadas en numerosos países han contribuido enormemente a la preservación de la memoria y a la reconstrucción de la historia veraz de la masacre ocurrida, aportando de manera fundamental en la lucha por la verdad y la justicia;
Que, el Papa Francisco durante la homilía en la misa en memoria de las víctimas del genocidio Armenio expresó que hoy se está viviendo una nueva especie de genocidio causado por la indiferencia general y colectiva ante una de las más grandes tragedias que ha sufrido la humanidad: el genocidio al pueblo Armenio, primera nación cristiana, junto a católicos, ortodoxos sirios, asirios, caldeos y griegos;
Que, naciones como Francia, Unión Soviética, Alemania, Argentina, Austria, Bélgica, Bolivia, Brasil, Bulgaria, Canadá, Chile, Chipre, Crimea, Líbano, Estados Unidos, Gran Bretaña, Grecia, Holanda, Italia, Luxemburgo, Suecia, Uruguay, Vaticano, Venezuela, Yugoslavia; Consejos como el Consejo de Europa, Consejo Mundial de Iglesias, Consejo de Naciones Unidas; El Parlamento Europeo, el Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos, entre otros, han promulgado distintos instrumentos en condena y reconocimiento del genocidio ocurrido contra el pueblo Armenio;
Por los considerandos antes expuestos, el Parlamento Andino, en uso de sus atribuciones y de conformidad a lo previsto en el Reglamento General.
RESUELVE
ARTÍCULO PRIMERO.- RECONOCER el genocidio del Armenios perpetrado por las autoridades del Imperio Otomano entre los años 1915 – 1923 y expresar su solidaridad al pueblo armenio y a sus descendientes, que integran las colectividades armenias del mundo.
ARTÍCULO SEGUNDO.- CONDENAR toda política de negación respecto al genocidio y de los crímenes de lesa humanidad sufridos por la nación armenia.
ARTÍCULO TERCERO.- EXHORTAR a la Comunidad Internacional a fin de que reconozca este hecho histórico como un respaldo incondicional a la verdad y la justicia y como una forma de rechazo a esta clase de actos que avergüenzan a la humanidad entera.

Notifíquese y Publíquese
Dado y firmado en la ciudad de Bogotá, a los XXX (X) días del mes de agosto, del año 2016.

EDITH MENDOZA FERNÁNDEZ

Presidenta

EDUARDO CHILIQUINGA MAZÓN

Secretario General