The Armenian community in Sweden held several commemorative events throughout the country to mark the 91st anniversary of the Armenian genocide–during which several Members of Parliament (MP) honored the victims and pledged to raise the issue in the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag).
In Uppsala–several Swedish MPs attended an event organized by Armenian organizations including Raffi Cultural Association–Armenian Relief Society–Homenetmen – Sweden–and the Armenian Church.
Michael Oscarson–a Christian Democrat MP who participated in the Genocide commemoration–said that people are not aware of the terrible suffering and loss of life Armenia’s experienced 91 years ago.
"We need to work together so that this very important humanitarian tragedy is captured by the public," he said.
"Together with my colleagues I will raise the question of Armenian genocide in the Riksdag," said Oscarson–promising to "address the Foreign Minister and demand an explanation on what the Swedish government is doing concerning the denial by Turkey."
"My party and I supported those resolutions–and continue to recognize them today," he added.
Oscarson also spoke of a visit to Turkey last year–saying: "Every time I met my colleagues in the Turkish Parliament I took up the issue of the Armenian genocide–but I was shocked to be met by a wall of silence. And I was even more shocked when one of them replied–’We the Turks are the victims–we were the ones who were submitted to genocide."
Another Swedish MP–Rezene Tesfazion–spoke on behalf of the Social Democrats and said that we must never forget the lessons of history–because "this is our duty as human beings."
"I join with you today in remembering the past I encourage you to continue honoring your forefathers," he said.
Tesfazion also made a pledge to the Armenian people–saying–"Together with my colleague Miss Tone Tingsgaard I will try to raise the issue in the Riksdag."
In March 2000 the Swedish Parliament adopted a motion acknowledging the Armenian genocide. The motion reads: "An official statement and recognition of the Genocide of the Armenia’s is important and necessary. In 1985 the UN and the European Parliament established the fact that the Ottoman Empire had committed genocide against the Armenian people in the beginning of the 20th century. The Standing Committee [on Foreign Affairs] is of the opinion that the greater openness Turkey demonstrates–the stronger Turkey’s democratic identity will be. It is therefore important that unbiased independent and international research on the genocide committed against the Armenian people be carried out. It is of great importance that an increasing openness and historical understanding of the events of 1915 and thereafter be developed. An improvement in this respect would also be of importance for the stability and the development in the whole Caucasus region."