BRUSSELS–The chair of conference that was held in the European Parliament on June 15–stressed he was unaware that conference participant Justin McCarthy is an adamant denier of the Armenian genocide.
European Parliament Member Richard Howitt–said he accepted the chairmanship believing a balanced debate–aimed at building reconciliation and mutual understanding between Turks and Armenia’s–was the goal of organizers.
Howitt responded to the European Armenian Federation’s (EAFJD) objection to not only McCarthy’s participation–but also the conference–which was organized by the Turkish think-tank Ari Movement.
Howitt contacted the Armenian organization to make it clear that he was not responsible for the organization of the meeting. Chairman Howitt also made it understood that he specifically opened the meeting by confirming successive European Parliament resolutions supporting unequivocal recognition of the Armenian genocide.
The European Parliamentary Labour Party sits as part of the multi-national Socialist Group in the European Parliament–but it has its own leadership and spokespeople representing Britain in Brussels and Strasbourg. Labour has 19 Euro-MPs in the European Parliament.
A longtime anti-racist activist in the UK–Howitt emphasized that neither he–the Socialist Group in the European Parliament–nor the European Parliament as a whole–would in any way accept genocide denial–or any denial of ethnic or racist violence.
Howitt is a substitute member on the Employment & Social Affairs Committee–President of the European Parliament’s all-party group on disability–and worked in the voluntary sector before becoming an MEP. He is also a member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and is first Vice Chair of the Sub Committee on Human Rights.
Howitt and the Socialist Group of MEPs pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian genocide and their relatives today–in the year of its 90th anniversary.