Should the UK Recognise the Armenian Genocide?
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Should the UK Recognise the Armenian Genocide?
13 April @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The UK is lagging behind the world in recognising the Armenian Genocide. Democratic nations including the United States, France, and Germany have recognised it, as have the devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And yet, we have failed to do so, citing reasons that include: the fact that the term “genocide” did not exist in 1948, and that it should be a matter for Turkey and Armenia to sort out between themselves.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to gather world experts to discuss why the UK government should recognise this genocide and what parliamentarians are doing to make this a possibility.
Seyhan Bayraktar is research associate and head of the PhD programme at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences` School of Management and Law. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Konstanz in 2009. Her research areas include the politics of memory and apology, in particular the denial politics of Turkey with regard to the Armenian genocide. She has published widely about the ongoing denial of Turkey as well as the role and responsibility of the international community in terms of acknowledgement and recognition in a number of articles (e.g. “The Politics of Denial and Recognition: Turkey, Armenia and The EU”, in Alexis Demirdjian (ed.), The Armenian Genocide Legacy, (New York, 2016); “The Grammar of Denial: State, Society, and Turkish-Armenian Relations.”, in International Journal of Middle East Studies 47(4), 2015)
Prior to Parliament, Tim Loughton worked in the private sector as a fund manager in the City of London before becoming a Director at Fleming Private Asset Management. Tim was first elected to Parliament in 1997 as Member for East Worthing and Shoreham and has been re-elected in 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Tim has held various positions during his time in Parliament. He was Shadow Minister for Environment from 2000, Shadow Minister for Health and Children from 2001 (3) during the Conservative Party’s time in opposition. He was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Children and Families following the 2010 General Election until 2012 leading on several areas of successful reform in child protection, child sexual exploitation and adoption in particular.
From the backbenches, he continues to work vigorously in support of improving the life chances of children and young people and making sure their voices are heard in Parliament. Tim chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Conception to Age 2 (first 1001 days) which is undertaking important work to improve Government’s work in peri-natal mental health and strong attachment for young children. He sits on the influential Home Affairs Select Committee. Tim chairs a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups covering a wide range of issues, such as Tibet, Archaeology, The British Museum, Armenia and Yemen, as well as co-chairs the APPG for Mindfulness and APPG for Children. Tim was also elected as Vice Chair of the All-Party Groups on Youth and Care Leavers.
As Chair for the All-Party-Parliamentary Group for Armenia, Tim put forward a Bill in Parliament asking Her Majesty’s Government formally to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915-23; and for connected purposes which formally recognised the genocide of the Armenians in the period 1915 to 1923 and sought to establish an annual commemoration to the victims of the Armenian genocide.
In 2019 he successfully piloted one of the most comprehensive Private Member’s Bills through Parliament which instituted civil partnerships for opposite sex couples; gives power to coroners to investigate stillbirths and enables mothers to enter their name on marriage certificates for the first time.
As well as continuing as a Vice-President of the Local Government Association (LGA), Tim has recently joined the Conservatives Against Racism For Equality (CARFE) as an advisory Board Member.
Professor A. Dirk Moses is Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He edits the Journal of Genocide Research and is the author of The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression (Cambridge, 2021).
Geoffrey Robertson QC is founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers. He has had a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading textbooks. He is also an author of the book “An Inconvenient Genocide – Who Now Remembers the Armenians?”, published by Biteback.
He has argued many landmark cases in media, constitutional and criminal law, in the European Court of Justice; the European Court of Human Rights; the Supreme Court (House of Lords and Privy Council); the UN War Crimes courts; the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and in the highest courts of many commonwealth countries.
Geoffrey has, as a jury advocate, appeared in many criminal trials at the Old Bailey and libel trials in the High Court. He has appeared in several hundred reported cases in the Court of Appeal (both civil and criminal divisions) and in judicial reviews in the High Court, and in subsequent appeals. He has a large advisory practice, for clients including governments, media corporations, NGO’s and local councils.
Isabel Sawkins is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She has a BA in Modern Languages at Durham University and an MA in Political Sociology of Russia and Eastern Europe at UCL. She is currently completing a PhD on Holocaust memory in the Russian Federation at the University of Exeter, funded by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council). Isabel has presented her research at numerous international conferences. She has also published her findings in academic journals, as well as contributing to online media outlets. Isabel’s most recent accomplishment was the curation of an online exhibition about a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland.
On the 13th April, Isabel Sawkins, Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, Dr Seyhan Bayraktar, head of PhD programme at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences` School of Management and Law, Geoffrey Robertson QC, founder of Doughty Street Chambers, Tim Loughton MP, Chair for the All-Party-Parliamentary Group for Armenia, and Professor Anthony Moses, Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Genocide Research, discussed whether the British government should recognise the Armenian genocide.
Isabel Sawkins began the discussion by introducing the topic of the event and the speakers. Dr Bayraktar discussed her research on the denial of the Armenian genocide in Turkey from the 1970s onwards and how it grew from a marginal topic to a dominating force in society. She discussed official Genocide denial of Turkey and its impacts on minorities in the country. Geoffery Robertson QC spoke about the definition of genocide and how the Entente identified the Armenian genocide as uniquely horrific event. He spoke how the Armenian genocide served as an inspiration for Hitler and past British attempts avoid calling it a genocide. Tim Loughton MP discussed the current efforts to recognise the Armenian genocide in Parliament and how Armenian culture and heritage is still being expunged from Turkey, as well as with the current ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Professor Moses spoke about how academics are able to ask the questions that politicians and policy makers do not ask. He discussed why genocide is the crime of crimes and what official recognition actually means, as well as the selective approach British institutions have in deciding what events qualify as a genocide.
The discussion closed with two questions to the speakers which were, will failure to label it a genocide encourage more violence against Armenians and if the UK did recognise the Armenian genocide would it disrupt the Armenian-Turkish normalisation process.
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Across the Eurasian landmass, authoritarian regimes are using deeply subversive means to destabilise the liberal democratic global order. A revisionist Russia is actively engaged in using below-threshold means to destabilise NATO partners across Europe. In the Baltic states and across eastern Europe, Russia continues utilising cyber-attacks and information warfare, whilst recently utilising sophisticated disinformation campaigns … Continued
It is almost five years since the Oxford English Dictionary named “post-truth” its word of the year. Since then, the onslaught of fake news, disinformation, and conspiracy theorising have not only remained unrelenting, the problem has grown worse. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a maturing environment and practice of disinformation has found its ideal host, a … Continued
On the 1st of February 2021, newly re-elected State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi was forcefully detained by a military junta, alongside other members of her National League of Democracy (NLD) party. This coup took place hours before her confirmation in Parliament. Leader of the Military, Min Aung Hlaing, claimed that the NLD … Continued
We are delighted to host celebrated investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan as they discuss their timely and fascinating book The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia’s Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad. Building on their extensive expertise on Russian intelligence, this event will discuss the complex and changeable role of Russian émigrés … Continued
On 25th January 2020, the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC announced a new review into terrorism across the prison estate in England and Wales. This timely announcement comes in the wake of a number of terrorist attacks perpetrated by radicalised offenders released from across the UK prison estate and an increase … Continued
2020 was a turning point for Britain. Following the death of George Floyd in the US state of Minnesota, a wave of Black Lives Matter demonstrations took place in the UK. The protests, as far-reaching as the Shetland Islands to the Isle of Wight, have undoubtedly had an impact on various spheres of British life … Continued
Since the last National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) has been established, the world has endured global cyber attacks in WannaCry and Not-Petya, financial losses to cyber crime have ballooned and show no signs of slowing down. There is a clear and present need for a new generation of NCSS, but what directions should UK … Continued
In 2014 army chief Prayut Chan-o-cha launched a coup which brought himself and the Thai military to power. Five years later elections, widely seen as unfree and unfair, took place in an attempt to legitimise this rule. The junta remained in power, marking yet another setback for democracy in Thailand. This has not occurred without … Continued
Most who study or work to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism do so with one overriding purpose - to reduce, or even prevent further victims of terrorist attacks. Consulting survivors and the families of those lost to terrorism holds significant potential for the continued development of preventative and responsive strategies to terrorism - … Continued
India will soon have the largest population in the world, and in ten years is predicted to have the third-largest economy and defence budget. It is no wonder that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was keen to visit New Delhi for the country’s national day last month. While Covid may have cancelled this trip it has … Continued
Even in prison, Aleksei Navalny has continued his epic battle against Putin’s kleptocracy. On 19th January, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation released their biggest investigation yet into their most sensitive topic yet: Vladimir Putin’s own wealth. The video detailing Putin’s $1billion palace reached 85 million views in just six days and sparked large-scale protests across more than sixty … Continued
In the wake of the Prime Minister’s much-vaunted recent announcement of the uplift in defence spending, the Royal Navy are set to be the big winners with increased frigates and destroyers bolstering the navy’s fleet. On the back of this announcement the UK-led Carrier Strike Group is set for its first operational mission this spring, … Continued
In the 2019 Queen's Speech, the Government announced it was “considering whether to follow allies in adopting a form of foreign agent registration”. The Government’s announcement followed a series of concerning accounts of strategic adversaries conducting disinformation and aggressive lobbying operations in London, at the risk of undermining the UK’s democratic system. In order … Continued
On 17th July, 2014, passenger jet Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was destroyed over eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed, their bodies strewn across the cornfields of east Ukraine. These people were victims of Russia’s proxy war in Ukraine, which rages to this day and has claimed over 13,000 lives. Immediately after MH17 … Continued
2020 marked a testing year for the English education system. Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been concerns that exam cancellations and the shift towards greater virtual learning, carries the risk of widening existing social and economic inequalities in England. In addition to this, cultural fault-lines have emerged over the content and … Continued
Anybody familiar with Russia will recognise the constancy of campaigns launched by state, quasi-state, and non-state actors – from law enforcement officers to so-called journalists and internet trolls – to discredit out-of-favour figures by the spreading of damaging information about them and their alleged activities. This phenomenon — “black PR” (chernyi piar) — emerged in the 1990s and has over time become a … Continued
The past few months have been especially terrible for Hongkongers. Their city, which over the past few years has bustled with political activity and protest, stood still. However, it was not just the fear of COVID-19 which kept people off the streets. The introduction of the national security law, in the summer of 2020, has … Continued
The December 2019 General Election will go down as one of the most dramatic in postwar history. Shattering Labour’s ‘red wall’ of previously safe seats in working-class towns across the Midlands, Northern England, and Wales, Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to their largest parliamentary majority since 1987 – with former Labour leader Jeremy … Continued
RSVP No European country has suffered as grievously from jihadist terrorist as France. Nearly three hundred people have been killed in a succession of outrages since 2015. President Macron has responded to the horrific murder of schoolteacher Samuel Paty, and the deadly knife attack committed at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, with a robust … Continued
Next year marks the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. For Xi Jinping it is the first milestone in completing his ‘China Dream’, the last being 2049 which marks 100 years since the founding of the People’s Republic. By this point Xi hopes to restore China as a great nation, one … Continued
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 ushered in a very unique and controversial style of US Presidency. The development and delivery of US Foreign Policy by President Trump and his administration was at times both bold and brash, marked by unilateralism, and has been characterised by some as rife with internal conflicts among Cabinet … Continued
The 2020 US Presidential Election will go down as one of the most fascinating elections in American political history. While outgoing President Donald Trump has been soundly defeated in terms of the both the popular and Electoral College vote, initial voting data suggests that he unexpectedly managed to build on his 2016 support among both … Continued
WHEN 16:00-17:00 BST 7 December 2020 WHERE ONLINE Speakers: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Glen Grant Defence & Reform Expert, Ukrainian Institute of the Future & Senior Fellow, Institute for Statecraft, UK Moderator: Dr Alan Mendoza Executive Director, The Henry Jackson Society RSVP HERE The Henry Jackson Society and British-Ukrainian Aid are delighted to announce British-Ukrainian Aid’s … Continued
Following the Labour Party’s disastrous showing in last December’s UK General Election, much has been said on the breakdown of its relationship with traditional working-class voters in the industrial heartlands. However, figures suggest that there has also been a notable fraying of ties between Labour and British voters of Indian origin. In Harrow East – … Continued
Watch this event back here: https://youtu.be/C-IdqsZUhVg See the event transcript In response to China’s rise, the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ has become increasingly popular among strategic policy circles. The United States, Japan, Australia, and India have all created their own Indo-Pacific strategies or approaches, each with a slightly different interpretation – and ambition – for the … Continued
The Chinese Communist Party's actions in Hong Kong show that it is increasingly willing to act in ways that violate international norms, laws and expectations when it sees doing so as being in its own interests. Nowhere is this truer than in circumstances in which President Xi perceives the legitimacy of the party to rule … Continued
Following the police homicide of African-American George Floyd in the US state of Minnesota on 25 May 2020, a wave of civil unrest involving Black Lives Matter activists has gripped America’s major cities, from the eastern state of California to the western state of New York. However, the death of George Floyd has thrust issues … Continued
On 9 August, Belarusians took to the polls in their country’s presidential election. Aliaksandr Lukashenka, the five-term president, claimed a landslide victory, but there is compelling evidence that the vote was rigged. For the past week, citizens have protested against Lukashenka’s government and the election results. These protests have led to a troubling police crackdown, … Continued
Since the outset of the global Coronavirus pandemic, fundamental assumptions about our world have been called into question. Much of this reevaluation has focused on the question of trade. With nations unable to obtain essential supplies including PPE amidst the pandemic, import security has come to be seen as a national security concern. Nations have … Continued
President Vladimir Putin’s Russia seeks to weaken Western institutions and governments. Its disinformation campaigns attempt to exacerbate pre-existing divisions and create polarisations in societies. These campaigns are often most visible during elections, but they do not stop when the ballot box closes. Instead they are one of a number of tools in the Kremlin’s broader … Continued
The HJS Virtual Event Series: ‘Religious Freedom in China: A Spotlight on Repression’ – Thursday 16th July, 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
China today is facing the worst crackdown on human rights since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. Across the board, basic freedoms are severely restricted and human rights widely and systematically violated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But there is one freedom which is experiencing, arguably, the worst repression since the Cultural Revolution, and that … Continued
How does the Chinese Government engineer its victories around the world? How has this threat influenced different aspects of our societies? How does it seek to persuade our leaders, policymakers, and elites to take decisions in its interests? These questions are no longer the niche interests of security analysts but real and present threats to our … Continued
The recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations in the UK, following the police homicide of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 in the US state of Minnesota, have thrust issues such as trust and confidence in British public institutions into the spotlight. But messaging around the issue of black lives has become intertwined with the … Continued
A discussion with the chairs of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs, Defence and International Development Select Committees: Tom Tugendhat MP, Tobias Ellwood MP and Sarah Champion MP Covid-19 has interrupted HM Government’s Integrated Strategic Review. The pandemic – and the geopolitics behind it – has forced Britain’s strategists and policymakers to think harder about how the … Continued
20 years ago, Sir Robert Cooper’s updated pamphlet – The Postmodern State and the World Order – was published. It focused on the changing strategic situation in Europe. His argument, in a nutshell, was that globalisation and the end of the Cold War had rendered Europe a very different place to what had gone before. … Continued
The HJS Virtual Event Series: ‘Prof. Niall Ferguson: In Conversation – How Coronavirus Will Change the World of International Relations’
All event times are in BST. It is evident that Coronavirus has transformed our world. But what will its impact be on international relations and global politics? Whether it is changes in the international order and how that order interacts, the future of globalisation, China’s global role, the relative strengths of the free versus … Continued
Event times are in BST. While most look on a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic with worry, and view it as a challenge to be overcome, there are dangerous, hate-filled actors who consider these troubling times to be a gift. A golden opportunity not to be wasted. Far-right extremists – both abroad and closer … Continued
HJS VIRTUAL EVENT “Russia and the High North: How Should the West Engage the Next Chair of the Arctic Council (2021-23)?”
All event times are in BST In 2021, for a two-year period, Russia will chair the Arctic Council, the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic. It will do so whilst the region – and the world – grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing tensions between Russia and the West, and uncertainty over … Continued
Beijing’s plans to impose a ‘national security law’ on Hong Kong’s independent judiciary have provoked an international outcry. The EU’s top diplomat has said that China’s attempts to strengthen its control of Hong Kong pose a threat to the rules-based international order. The proposed law conflicts directly with China’s international obligations under the legally-binding Sino-British … Continued
HJS VIRTUAL EVENT: “Brian H. Hook & The Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP: In Transatlantic Conversation on Iran”
It is easy to forget this now, but at the start of 2020, the biggest flashpoint for many international policy-makers was not a global pandemic in the making, but the vexed question of how to handle Iran. When US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 supported by the … Continued
The HJS Virtual Event Series: ‘COVID-19 and Social Media – Meeting Challenges using Lessons Learned from Countering Terrorism’
Following the extensive use of social media platforms by extremist groups and terrorist organisations for propaganda and recruitment purposes, technology companies have taken important proactive policy decisions on removing material and banning users from their sites. This discussion will focus on whether some of the same techniques and lessons learned can be applied to new … Continued
All event times are in BST Ukraine is used to fighting crises – and at the moment it is fighting three. The country currently has had around 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, in a population of almost 42 million. It has the lowest testing rate in Europe, and the health care system is dilapidated … Continued
All event times in BST Covid-19 has hit Western and Southern European countries – Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland – particularly hard. Across the continent, governments have implemented ‘lock downs’ to contain and repress the spread of the virus. China and Russia have seized on … Continued
Event times are in BST The United Kingdom (UK) is currently in second place behind the United States (US) in terms of the national number of COVID-19 deaths, and also ranks highly in terms of active cases. There are of course valid criticisms to be made about using ‘league tables’ without adjusting for population … Continued
Covid-19 has left a trail of destruction everywhere in its wake, but one of its most pernicious impacts is likely to be in the advances made by authoritarian states – and putative authoritarians – against their own populations but also against the free world. Human rights violations and suppressions of dissent that would normally spark global … Continued
Event times are in BST In a provocative new thesis – laid out in his book “Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy” – veteran diplomat Professor Kishore Mahbubani takes as his starting point the common idea that the defining geopolitical clash of the century will be between the USA and China, … Continued
As Europe is to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2, national narratives of those historic events hugely differ across Europe. Identity and historical memory are often hijacked by populist and nationalist agendas and history suddenly enters the political mainstream. In Britain, the tabloid media has often fallen back on spurious references … Continued