Lord Ara Darzi has urged the United Kingdom to follow the United States' lead and recognize the Armenian Genocide, according to a letter he penned on The Guardian.
"As the first Armenian in the British parliament, I am overjoyed at the vote by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday last week to recognize the Armenian genocide of a century ago," said Darzi, who is also the Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London.
"But I remain dismayed by the British government’s refusal to acknowledge the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in a wave of violence that followed the fall of the Ottoman empire. The collective silence over the Armenian genocide was cited by Hitler as he plotted the extermination of Europe’s Jewish population."
Darzi said it is a source of intense pain and regret to him and Armenians worldwide that the British government persists in denying the Genocide out of fear of offending Turkey, a Nato ally.
At least 20 countries around the world have formally recognized the massacre as genocide – among them France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the European parliament.
"My great grandfather and his sons were executed by Ottoman government forces in 1915. His daughter, my grandmother, then a teenager, only escaped by pretending to be dead. She walked barefoot with her mother from Erzerum, where the family lived, arriving weeks later in Mosul, northern Iraq. I was born in Baghdad, where we lived as refugees," his letter reads.
"It is unconscionable for the British government to continue to deny the Armenian genocide. Genocide is a global issue. We have seen it in Rwanda and Darfur and in what happened to Christian communities at the hands of Isis in Syria and northern Iraq. The House resolution says the US government should no longer associate itself “with denial of the Armenian genocide or any other genocide”. Our own parliament should do the same."