UNESCO will not declare Holodomor genocide because of Russia
On 1 November the final stage begins in Paris of the 34th Session of the UNESCO General Conference. One of the points on the agenda is a vote on a resolution declaring Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine to have been an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.
However the newspaper Kommersant has been told by the ambassador of a West European country that the word “genocide” will not be in the final text of the resolution. In fear of a worsening of relations with Russia, members of left-wing political factions are advocating changes to the document. Right-wing factions and Ukrainian experts are categorically against any revision.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Kyiv is ready for editorial amendments to the resolution and the absence of the word “genocide”.
Head of the Department on National Minorities within the Ministry (which was involved in drawing up the text of the document) Volodymyr Shkurov was not able to say yesterday whether the word “genocide” had been retained. He believes it unlikely that the word would be used in any document issued by UNESCO, a non-political organization.
The UNESCO Resolution calling for greater awareness of the Holocaust and efforts to combat all forms of Holocaust denial was unanimously passed on 25 October 2007. A UNESCO Resolution on recognizing the genocide of the Armenian people is at present at discussion stage.
President Yushchenko has been seeking recognition of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people since he assumed office. He has spoken out in favour of criminal liability being imposed for denial of Holodomor. In March 2007 he issued a Decree creating a coordination council for organizing and running measures to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Holodomor.
Since 2005 a memorial “Light a candle” action has been held each year in memory of the victims of genocide and political repression. It will take place this year on 24 November.
It is planned to declare 2008 Year in Memory of Holodomor. As reported here, President Yushchenko had harsh words last week about some governors and the level of preparation of memorial events.