London, United Kingdom—“Genocides: The Before and After” was the title of UPF-UK’s annual genocide awareness event.
The event, which was held on April 20, 2017, at the UPF-UK Peace Embassy, discussed genocides in different parts of the world, including some that are denied by national governments.
Two important issues were raised by several people:
- Different groups of activists in unrelated genocide incidents can support each other to achieve recognition together.
- Awareness of the stages of genocide identified by Gregory Stanton, a research professor in genocide studies, can increase the chance of preventing mass killings.
The video link is here.
The UPF founders, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, experienced oppression by Japan during their childhood. They also experienced the Korean War dividing their nation and communism suppressing individual rights in North Korea. UPF conceives of humanity as a human family with a common Heavenly Parent or Creator, with the consequent familial responsibility to the other family members. These genocide awareness events allow a platform for those who have suffered greatly.
Margaret Keverian-Ali, the director of UPF-UK, opened the program.
Keith Best, Queen’s Counsel, encouraged all present to contact the International Criminal Court to encourage them in their work. He reminded the audience to keep lobbying their members of Parliament to be aware of issues that need to be either prevented or resolved.
Raffi Sarkissian is the chair of the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG) and former co-chair of the Armenian Genocide Centenary Commemoration Committee UK (2013 to 2015). Some of his articles have been published in the International Business Times and the Manchester newspaper The Guardian.
Mr. Sarkissian is a member of Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs). He is particularly interested in the Kurdish people and various Christian minorities and the roles of Turkey, Iran, Israel and Syria.
Gabor Boros, who spoke on the Roma Holocaust, recently was appointed vice chair and the Holocaust delegate of the International Romani Union. He is also the Holocaust representative of the National Gypsy Traveler and Romany Council.
Kamron Nawroz is a survivor of the 1988 Halabja chemical attack in Iraqi Kurdistan by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, in which 5,000 Kurds died, including several from his own family.
Tatiana Giraud is the founder of the Tatiana Giraud Foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose aim is to help women and girls who have been victims of sexual violence in the northeastern part of the country. Ms. Giraud also has supported her mother, Charlotte Simon, who founded Mothers of Congo, to promote awareness of the mothers of DRC who have suffered greatly while trying to raise their families.
Ruth Barnett, a Holocaust and genocide educator, was born in Germany in 1935 of a Jewish father and a Gentile mother. She came to the United Kingdom as a small child in the late 1930s as part of the Kindertransport plan that rescued thousands of Jewish children from Nazi Germany. She was a secondary school teacher for 19 years and a psychotherapist for 28 years. She regularly gives her testimony in schools and colleges.
Sheikh Dr. Hojjat Ramzy, the founder and director of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre, spoke about the Bosnian genocide at Srebrenica and the Rohingya people in Myanmar. He has worked with the Thames Valley Police as an Islamic chaplain and adviser and is the director of TellMAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) in the Thames Valley, assisting city and county councils and the police to reduce Islamophobic and anti-Semitic hate crimes. He is the Muslim chaplain at Oxford Brookes University. He is a national member of the Muslim Council of Britain and the former chair of education of the council.
Rev. Dr. Sumana Siri established the Buddhist Realists' Vihara in the United Kingdom in 1991 and in Italy in 1997. His next effort is to walk around the world for peace, starting from Palestine and ending in Israel four years later. The Universal Peace Federation has awarded him an Ambassador for Peace certificate.