Wales-Armenia Solidarity Contact : E. Williams Cardiff, Wales Tel : 07870267447 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Wales-Armenia Solidarity in Manchester (Wales-Armenia Solidarity in co-operation with members of the Manchester Armenian Community) 28th September 2006
Armenia Solidarity this week completed a successful three days of lobbying at the annual Labour Party Conference, in Manchester, England.
1. Meetings with MPs and MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) were held in the G-Mex Conference Centre, at the Armenian Taverna and Brannigans Hotel. Amongst the MPs present were Mr. Paddy Tipping of the British-Armenian All-party Parliamentary Group and Hywel Francis, secretary of the Welsh Group of MPs (the overwhelming majority of whom have recognised the genocide).
2. Other MPs, MEPs and members of the National Assembly of Wales were thanked for their past support.
3. "Remember", the book of evidence for the Genocide compiled by John Torosyan was presented to the Prime Minister at the G-Mex centre. The book was accepted graciously by Mr Blair.
4. Literature on the genocide was presented to over a thousand delegates and visitors to the conference including Lord Kinnock, Charles Clarke, Harriet Harman, Hazel Blears (chair of the Labour Party) and other ministers, loyal supporter Tony Benn, George Younger, well-known journalists e.g. Mr David Aaronavitch and Mrs Cherie Blair.
5. Contacts were made with many of the Labour-Affiliated Groups, some of whom offered to support our campaign.
6. We questioned a Muslim Council of Britain representative on the M.C.B.’s attitude to Recognition of the Genocide.
7. Officials from the Manchester Armenian Church and members of the Manchester Armenian Youth Group participated enthusiastically in the lobbying and leafleting.
8. At one of the meetings, an acquaintance and constituent of Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett offered to present a copy of John Torosyan’s book of evidence to her.
9. At the meeting with MPs it was agreed that an Early Day Motion in the Commons would be tabled in October. It was decided to concentrate lobbying on the North of England initially, in co-operation with the efforts of Wales-Armenia Solidarity in Wales. 10. It was also proposed to hold a meeting in the Commons in the near future to launch the new EDM (Early Day Motion in Parliament) on the genocide (and possibly another one on the economic blockade of Armenia).
11. It was proposed to explore the idea of a ten-minute rule bill. This would be a bill requesting permission from the government to introduce a Genocide Recognition Motion. It would be the first time that the Commons would vote on the Genocide Recognition issue, and would have a chance of success in these days of transformation for the government. It could be seen as a moral victory even though the government would use their authority to halt progress of the bill.
12. It is essential that all Armenian lobbying groups and our allies co-operate, as only approximately a month would be available from permission being given for a 10-minute rule-bill being given until the possible vote. That would need intense activity across the country.
13. A meeting with Foreign minister Geoff Hoon was also proposed.
14. A request to the Manchester Council was agreed : a) on the inclusion of an Armenian contribution to the Manchester Holocaust Memorial day event ; b) on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Council - by a vote or otherwise.
15. It was decided to present the Compilation book "Remember" to the leader of the Council to this end.
16. It was decided to publicise a lecture on the relevance of the Armenian Genocide at the Jewish Museum in November.
17. It was proposed to create personal, contacts in the Muslim and Jewish Communities in Manchester to facilitate a possible motion in the Council.
Amongst those of the Armenian community present at the meetings were : Dr Raffi BAGHDJIAN, Dr Douglas BUCHANAN, Mr Tatto COULIGIAN, Mr Vicken COULIGIAN, Mr Guy DICKINSON, Miss Teny MATIAN, Mr Dave MCAULEY, Dr Ara NAHABEDIAN LETTER TO GROONG Miss Sevan NERSESSIAN, Mr Zareh NERSESSIAN, Mr Krikor OZANIAN, Miss Tamar SHEKERDEMIAN, Mr Armenag TOPALIAN, Mr Eilian WILLIAMS. (Chairman of Wales-Armenia Solidarity).
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