PARIS (Combined Sources)–A symposium on the Armenian Genocide began on Thursday at the Sorbonne.
The conference aims to not only reiterate the factual evidence of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenia’s by Ottoman Turks–but also to serve as a deterrent to violations of human rights of that nature. Participants include academicians and historians from the Untied States–Turkey–Israel–Italy and Armenia.
His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia–addressed on Thursday the opening session of the symposium. He affirmed that "the Genocide is at the center of the Armenian Cause" and that–"the very existence of an Armenian Diaspora is enough proof of the reality of a genocide followed by massive deportation of the Armenian people–both perfectly planned and systematically executed by Ottoman authorities." Wondering what else would have forced the Catholicosate of Cilicia to flee its historical See and to seek refuge in Lebanon–His Holiness went on saying: "The Genocide remains an undeniable reality even though present day Turkey ignores this historic truth and that its allies–mainly the United States–interpret it as an alleged genocide. Allow me to insist–that historical research must continue with realism and objectivity in order to discover the various dimensions–the different aspects and manifestations of this first genocide of the twentieth century."
The Catholicos insisted also that it "is indispensable that the Armenian Genocide be addressed in the context of human rights," reminding that this unpunished Genocide had encouraged a certain Hitler to organize the extermination of the Jewish people. He continued–"And numerous genocides under different forms and different names have occurred in this century in Cambodia–in Rwanda–in Bosnia–to mention just a few. The Genocide must be punished as a crime against humanity.
"The recognition of genocide perpetrated against innocent people is a sine qua non condition to prevent crimes against humanity. Consequently the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by its perpetrators is an absolute necessity. The recognition of the Genocide is a step towards dialogue."
Furthermore His Holiness underlined that issues of justice and human rights are particularly close to his heart "because they directly concern the Church. Jesus Christ stood up against injustice and the institutions that violate human dignity and rights. That is why the struggle against injustice and the promotion of human rights–the right of people to self-determination are integral and vital dimensions of the calling of the Church. In this perspective the Armenian Church has a particular mission. Being par excellence a Church of the people and identifying herself with the suffering and aspirations of her people–the Armenian Church has always played and must continue to play a fundamental role–remaining the avant-garde of her people’s struggle to recover its legitimate rights."
The Catholicos concluded his speech by the affirmation–that "The Catholicosate of Cilicia–as one of the victims of the Genocide and the Armenia’s in the Diaspora being the descendants of the direct victims of the Genocide–our Catholicosate remains one of the strongest voices to claim our people’s rights."