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France may vote on a law regarding Holodomor

21.10.2007 | www.bbc.co.uk

The French National Assembly has just registered a draft law on recognizing Holodomor [the Famine] of 1932-1933 as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

If the legislative initiative can quickly gather 100 signatures, it could be considered in the very near future.

The draft law has been submitted by a deputy from the North, Christian Vanet, who tabled a similar draft last year which was not considered due to the run-up to the parliamentary elections.

The present draft is timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Holodomor.  The French right-of-centre deputy believes that all crimes of genocide committed in the twentieth century must be officially condemned.

In the two days since the draft was registered, around twenty people have signed it. Since both the author of the draft bill and the President belong to the Union for the People’s Movement which holds the majority in the National Assembly, one can tentatively assume a good chance for a vote on the draft.

In general the French parliament has a certain tradition for passing such “historic” laws. In 2001 it officially recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915 which provoked outrage from Turkey. In 2005 it passed a law condemning the slavery of black Africans by representatives of western civilizations.  That law was criticizing for failing to mention the bondage of black Africans by Arabs and Asians, or the slave trade run by black Africans themselves.

Two years ago parliament long debated whether history teachers should be made to stress the positive consequences of colonialism for former colonies.

The political context for the adoption of a possible law on Holodomor is complex. However given the change in attitude to the Ukrainian issue since Nicola Sarcosi was elected President, one cannot exclude a positive outcome.

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