Wednesday May 6th 2015 marks another significant victory for justice and the Armenian Community of Toronto. Toronto City Council voted in favour of Motion MM6.7 which reads:
“2015 marks the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Genocide, the 1st genocide of the 20th century, took place between 1915 and 1917.
On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman Government arrested over 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople. They were sent to prison in Anatolia, where most were summarily executed.
Thereafter, thousands upon thousands were subjected to forced labour, massacred or deported.
The Armenian Genocide was the systematic extermination by the Ottoman Empire of its minority Armenian subjects. This atrocity took place during and after World War I in which 1.5 million Armenians were executed.
Recognizing this tragic chapter in history, in 2004, then Mayor David Miller proclaimed April 25, 2004, as Armenian Genocide Day in Toronto.
Councillor Jim Karygiannis, seconded by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, recommends that:
- City Council recognize the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide to honour the memory of the men, women and children who died.”
The motion was brought forward by Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39) and, through strong support from long time friends of the Armenian community including His Worship, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Shelley Carroll (Ward 33), Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40), Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22), Councillor Raymond Cho (Ward 42) and Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21) assisted us in achieving the two-thirds majority procedurally required to avoid being referred to the Executive Committee. On the other hand, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7), Councillor John Campbell (Ward 4), Councillor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35) and Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24) voted against the motion.
Councillor Karygiannis told the ANC that he “believes it is important for us to remember the lessons of history and uphold the values Canadians hold dear – peace, freedom, democracy and respect. In so doing, we will develop a deeper understanding of our duty and responsibility to our fellow man to ensure that we live in peace and harmony as we work toward a more just and tolerant future for all mankind.”
The adoption of this motion is a display of solidarity with all those who believe in justice and human rights internationally. Dozens of Turkish human rights advocates are at risk in Turkey because they demand that the Turkish government recognise and compensate for the Armenian Genocide. Through motion MM6.7, we have collectively shown that we too stand with those brave individuals who demand change. These bold strokes are what are required to effectively stand up for justice and truly stop efforts to deny the truth and prevent similar crimes in the future.
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