For Immediate Release
September 29, 2016
(OTTAWA, ONTARIO) — Kerry Diotte has introduced his first Private Members’ Bill (PMB) in the House of Commons. The bill is titled An Act to establish a Crimean Tatar Deportation (“Sürgünlik”) Memorial Day and to recognize the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as an act of genocide.
“My Bill condemns a dark chapter in history and takes a principled stand in support of freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” said Diotte, who was elected on Oct. 19, 2015.
If passed, this Act will recognize the mass deportations of Crimean Tatars in 1944 by the Soviet regime as genocide and establish May 18 as a day of commemoration.
“In 1944, the Soviet regime under Josef Stalin ripped hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children from their homes in Crimea and sent them into permanent exile simply on the basis of their nationality,” he said.
“They were denied their freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of worship until the Soviet Union ceased to exist. It constitutes a great crime against humanity.”
In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, and illegally annexed Crimea after staging a sham referendum in the region.
“We cannot separate the deportations of 1944 from Russia’s theft of Crimea from Ukraine seventy years later.”
“The same evil ideology and disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of every man and woman is at work in both a regime that would tear 200,000 people from their homes and drop them in a remote part of Central Asia; and in starting a war with a peaceful neighboring country in order to steal territory.”
This Bill is especially important because Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea has placed the Crimean Tatars under threat once again. Today, they face renewed attacks on their representative bodies, places of worship, and independent media outlets.
In 2015, the Parliament of Ukraine officially recognized the deportations of 1944 as genocide, the first country in the world to do so. Subsequently, the Ukrainian Parliament called on other countries to join them in recognizing this atrocity as genocide.
“Canada has always been a steadfast and loyal friend to Ukraine, and we need to show our leadership once again,” said Diotte.
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