Press release: The Armenian Genocide is an eye opener | Mission East

Press release: The Armenian Genocide is an eye opener

Driven out by IS to northern Iraq
René Hartzner distributes emergency food in Armenia

On April 24, we commemorate the massacre of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children 100 years ago. The date should shake us awake, so we act against the genocide in Syria and Iraq currently, says Kim Hartzner from Mission East

The Armenian Genocide took place 100 years ago.  But systematic killing of civilian men, women and children, is not just in the past. “The 24 April should open our eyes to the genocide against minorities in Syria and Iraq today, says Kim Hartzner who is the Managing Director of Mission East. The organisation works in places including northern Iraq, Syria and Armenia.

On 24 April 2015 it is 100 years since the systematic eradication campaign was launched against the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire. About 1.5 million people lost their lives in the period 1915-1918. Men, women and children were shot, hanged, drowned or sent in thousands on death marches into the Syrian desert.

100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is marked worldwide and in Denmark lectures, concerts and commemorations are held throughout the country. Also the relief organization Mission East marks the day with a special collection to children with disabilities in Armenia.

Knowng the Armenian people

Mission East has first-hand knowledge of the suffering of the Armenian people. Already in 1992 - after the Soviet Union collapsed and during the war with Azerbaijan - the relief organisation sent food, medicine and hospital equipment to Armenia. Mission East is still working in the country - today to ensure basic human rights for children with disabilities and their families.

Out from six health care canters, children with handicap are checked and helped to live a life as normal as possible. Inclusive education is now written into the Armenian School Act to the country’s teaching students are taught to include children with a handicap in the education

Genocides are also occurring today

The remembarance of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 raises attention to the genocide going on in Syria and Iraq right now. Religious minorities such as Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims are systematically displaced and killed by the terrorist movement Islamic State solely because of their religion and ethnicity. Alone in Iraq, 2.1 million people are forced to flee.

During the Armenian genocide 100 years ago, the world community hesitated to step in. That must not happen once more, says Managing Director Kim Hartzner

The remembrance of the Armenian genocide can be more than a memorial, he points out.

- I hope that the remembrance will shake us awake and open our eyes to the atrocities happening in the Middle East right now and that both the EU and the UN recognize as a genocide. At the same time, I hope many will contribute to our collection towards the children who are Armenia's future.