Politics

Conference on the Armenian Genocide held in Belgium

4 minute read

Conference on the Armenian Genocide held in Belgium

YEREVAN, APRIL 17, ARMENPRESS. On the initiative of Armenian Students Leuven (ASL), a forum titled ''Commemorating the Armenian Genocide: Reflecting on Historical Memory in Today's Context''was held.

The main speakers of the forum were Armenia's Ambassador to Belgium and Head of the Armenian Mission to the EU Tigran Balayan, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives Els Van Hoof, and senior specialist in political society's interest protection Nikola Davityan.

According to the Armenpress Brussels correspondent, the purpose of the conference was to draw parallels between the historical past experienced by the Armenian people and the current developments. Mariam Harutyunyan, the founder of the Armenian Students Leuven organization, noted in her opening speech that the history of the Armenian people is complex, but it is often not told on a large scale. That's why they wanted this year's event to be different and for student participation to be multi-layered.

According to Mariam Harutyunyan, the main purpose of the event was to educate Armenian youth on how they can get involved in the process, showing them variousways.

In his speech, Ambassador Balayan highlighted such initiatives not only from the perspective of conveying a message but also from the standpoint of listening to criticism. According to the Head of the Armenian Mission to the EU, it is important to hold such events in Brussels because Brussels has become an important place for Armenia.

Tigran Balayan emphasized drawing parallels between the past and the present. The Ambassador urged young people not to forget the past and the Genocide, and at the same time to look to the future.

According to the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, Els Van Hoof, Azerbaijan is making every effort to silence critical voices, including its own, but it is in vain. Van Hoof mentioned that she had participated in a conference dedicated to Artsakh Armenians in the Belgian Senate a few weeks ago, after which the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs received a critical notice from Azerbaijan.

‘’Azerbaijan wants to silence us, the Belgian politicians, but we, and in particular the EU, should continue to exert diplomatic pressure on Azerbaijan, which has shown no tendency towards peace. We will continue to pressure our political leadership so that appropriate steps and sanctions are applied against Azerbaijan," said Els Van Hoof.

"I think something has changed since 2020. The disaster in Artsakh has shocked everyone in the Diaspora. It is clear to us that we cannot remain passive. Many people in the diaspora now think that we should also mobilize politically in order to become a force," said Nikola Davityan, emphasizing in this context the fact that there are five Armenian candidates nominated in the Belgian elections: two at the European level, and three at the local level.

Nikola Davityan emphasized the significance of the Armenian community's vote being influential and being considered. The senior specialist in political society's interest protection noted that in the 100 years of the Armenian community's existence in Belgium, no Armenian MP has ever been elected.

"It's time for some of us to take that step," Davityan stated.

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