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2 March 2021

The Dutch parliament voted on 27 February to pass a widely-supported motion calling upon the government to recognise the Armenian Genocide.

The motion on the Armenian Genocide, submitted by Christian Union (ChristenUnie) MP Joël Voordewind, was passed with an overwhelming majority of 146 (of 149) MPs in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands voting in favour. Only three MPs voted against the call.

The House of Representatives of The Netherlands, in The Hague, is one of the two chambers of the Dutch Parliament

Voordewind’s motion stated, “The House of Representatives believes that there is more urgency than ever for countries to clearly speak out about the past in order to advance reconciliation and prevent repetition [of the genocide] in the future.”

A second motion recommending the release and repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war (PoWs) by Azerbaijan was also passed with a majority vote of 146 in favour.

Despite Armenia’s release of all Azerbaijani PoWs, Azerbaijan has not yet exchanged “all for all” in accordance with the ceasefire agreement that ended the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in November 2020, which was signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. The Azerbaijani authorities have since failed to provide a complete list or reveal the actual number of PoWs, which Armenia believes to be far higher than the figures so far released suggest.

About 150 Armenian PoWs are known to remain alive, but the fate of 1,300 other people still unaccounted for is unknown – whether killed, missing in action or held as PoWs. At least eleven Armenian prisoners have been killed by their Azerbaijani captors.

“Azerbaijan seems to have a deliberate policy of applying psychological pressure on Armenians by not letting them know the situation of the missing people,” said a regional expert. Many of the families of those held captive are experiencing great trauma and suffering because of this.

Between 1893 and 1923, some 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire in a policy of extermination of Christian minorities. The genocide reached its peak in 1915, when approximately 800,000 Armenians were killed. In addition some 2.25 million Assyrian, Greek and Syriac Christians were also killed within Ottoman territories between 1914 and 1923, making a total of 3.75 million Christians killed.

In September 2020, Azerbaijan was supported by Turkey in its attack on Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Thousands more Armenians were killed and some 90,000 were displaced as hostile forces, including jihadi mercenaries, overran the enclave. Some were killed by having their throats cut, just like a century ago in Turkey. There have recently been Azerbaijani threats to Armenia itself.

Barnabas Fund is calling upon the UK, New Zealand, Australian and US governments to officially recognise as genocide the mass murder of Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Greek Christians in the Ottoman Empire before, during and after the First World War.


From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources