PHR CEO Frank Donaghue has a powerful op-ed in today’s Armenian Weekly. From 1915 to 1923, more than 1.5 million Armenians were killed and half a million survivors exiled by the Turkish government of the Ottoman Empire. April 24 marks the 94th anniversary of this tragedy that became a template for subsequent genocides. Donaghue writes:
As a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, we take seriously our responsibility to remain a leading voice in recognizing genocide and working to end it.
In 2007, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity produced a letter signed by 53 Nobel laureates supporting the Genocide Scholars’ conclusion that the 1915 killings of Armenians constituted genocide. Being in Armenia this week has been especially moving, as I was privileged today to attend the April 24 memorial events with 2 million Armenians in Yerevan, pictured above. Referring to PHR’s work to provide evidence for genocide prosecutions in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Donaghue adds:
“Our work with survivors from these killing fields has taught us that recognition of the atrocities that they suffered is imperative for the future….”
PHR is one of the first organizations to define the mass killing and forced displacement of Sudanese citizens in Darfur as genocide. In November, 2008, PHR sent a team of four experts to gather an in-depth picture of the lives and concerns of Darfuri women now living in refugee camps in eastern Chad. Some of the stories of women interviewed by PHR are available on DarfuriWomen.org. Visit the site to read their stories and send messages back to them, as well as get updates about Darfur and read the PHR report once it’s available.
Denial is dangerous. Many of the brutal tactics and shameless denials used by the Ottoman Empire against defenseless Armenians are being used today by the Sudanese government.