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Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, member of UK House of Lords Ara Darzi has lauded the vote by the US House of Representatives to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and has expressed his dismay at the lack of a similar acknowledgment by the UK parliament.

“As the first Armenian in the British parliament, I am overjoyed at the vote by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday last week to recognise the Armenian genocide of a century ago (US House overwhelmingly votes to recognise Armenian genocide, 30 October),” he said in a letter published by The Guardian. “But I remain dismayed by the British government’s refusal to acknowledge the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in a wave of violence that followed the fall of the Ottoman empire. The collective silence over the Armenian genocide was cited by Hitler as he plotted the extermination of Europe’s Jewish population.”

According to him, it is the source of intense pain and regret to him and his compatriots that their own government persists in denying the genocide out of fear of offending Turkey, a Nato ally.

“My great grandfather and his sons were executed by Ottoman government forces in 1915. His daughter, my grandmother, then a teenager, only escaped by pretending to be dead. She walked barefoot with her mother from Erzerum, where the family lived, arriving weeks later in Mosul, northern Iraq. I was born in Baghdad, where we lived as refugees,” he recalled.

The prof noted that “Genocide is a global issue.”

“It is unconscionable for the British government to continue to deny the Armenian genocide. Genocide is a global issue. We have seen it in Rwanda and Darfur and in what happened to Christian communities at the hands of Isis in Syria and northern Iraq. The House resolution says the US government should no longer associate itself “with denial of the Armenian genocide or any other genocide”. Our own parliament should do the same,” he concluded.

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