Wednesday, May 26, 2010

RESEARCH: First International Conference in Madrid about the Armenian Genocide (

Madrid, May 24th, 2010: In collaboration with Spanish Armenian associations, the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy organized on May 21st an International Conference on the Armenian Genocide, titled “European Union, Recognition of the Armenian Genocide and International Law” in the Faculty of History and Geography in Madrid. The Conference was organized in support of joint efforts made by the Spanish democrats and the Armenian Community, for the recognition by the Spanish Parliament of the Genocide.

The speakers of the conference were: Luis Enrique Otero Carvajal, Dean of the Faculty of History of the Complutense University in Madrid; Mr Juan Merelo Barbera y Gabriel, lawyer at the Bar of Barcelona and at the International Court of Justice; Professor Alfred de Zayas, professor of International Law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, and former secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee; the writer Gonzalo Hernandez Guarch, author of several books on oppressed peoples, including “Armenian Will” published in 2007; Juan Jose San Martin, activist for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Basque and Catalan Parliaments; and Hilda Tchoboian, President of the European Armenian Federation.

Gayane Asilbekyan introduced the speakers on behalf of the Spanish Armenian associations. The conference emphasized the need for the international community to deliver justice to the Armenians. The Professor-Dean Luis Enrique Otero Carvajal, while placing the Genocide in its historical context, stressed that the Armenian people have the right to recognition and reparations. Professor Alfred de Zayas covered the legal case why the Armenian Genocide is not defined only by the 1948 Convention but also by the fact that it was described as Crime Against Humanity as of May 1915 by the Joint Declaration of France, England and Russia. He characterised reparation as the lifting of the durable consequences of the Genocide through acts, such as the restoration of the Armenian cultural and spiritual heritage currently subjected to destruction within the Armenian territories remaining in Turkey.

The writer Gonzalo Hernandez Guarch focused on “the Cause of the genocide, a fair cause”, thus explaining the reasons for his interest in the Armenian people. Mr Juan Merelo Barbera y Gabriel developed the reasons that justify the need to name the historical facts by the appropriate legal terms, insisting in fact on the importance of the “Genocide” term. The audience was informed about the hidden dynamics behind the recognition by the Basque and Catalan Parliaments with the testimony of Juan Jose San Martin. Lastly, Hilda Tchoboian presented the evolution, since the 1987 recognition, of the position of the European Union on the Genocide, in its foreign relations, in particular in the context of Turkish integration.

“This undertaking was a very important first step to give a report on the forces in support of recognition” declared Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation. “With our future actions, we will set up concrete means to reinforce the potential that exists in Spain” she indicated.

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