Saeima notes Ottoman genocide against Armenians

On Thursday, May 6, the Latvian Saeima adopted a declaration on the Armenian genocide carried out during the time of the Ottoman Empire, honoring the memory of all the victims of the Armenian genocide and paying tribute to the survivors. 

The Saeima emphasizes that Latvia condemns all crimes against humanity and is aware of its obligation to recognize and commemorate these crimes in order to prevent their recurrence. 

"The version of the declaration, promoted and supported by the Foreign Affairs Committee, is the result of hearings, discussions, studies and reflections by all stakeholders, diplomats, historians and researchers. However, the Armenian genocide will never be a de jure opinion - it can no longer be tried under the Vienna Convention. To acknowledge it or not is a political decision. And this is not a simple matter... It is not a question of barter, mutual benefit or small, insignificant "political points," said Rihards Kols (National Alliance) , Chairman of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee. 

The Saeima is aware that as a result of the activities of the Ottoman authorities, a large number of Armenians were forcibly deported to other regions of the empire, resulting in the loss of many lives due to famine, physical violence and murder. 

In the declaration, members of parliament note the importance of commemorating the loss of life of those killed in the Armenian genocide, massacres and forced relocations organized by the Ottoman authorities, which began on 24 April 1915 with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and activists in what was then Constantinople. 

The Saeima takes note of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the European Parliament resolution of 18 June 1987 recognizing that these events constitute genocide in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The vote on the declaration was carried by 64 votes to 4. Those voting against the declaration were Aleksandrs Kiršteins, Romāns Naudiņš and Edvīns Šnore of the National Alliance and Armands Krauze of the Greens and Farmers Union. Three of that number are noted supporters of Azerbaijan, which is engaged in a long-running territorial dispute with Armenia.


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