By Diego Karamanukian in Buenos Aires
The lower house of Argentina’s parliament adopted late Wednesday a resolution recognizing the 1915-1918 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide.
The bill overwhelmingly approved by the assembly declared April 24, which sees annual commemorations of more than one million genocide victims in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora, an official “day of mutual tolerance and respect” among peoples around the world. It gives Argentine citizens of Armenian descent the legal right to be absent from work or university classes on that day.
There was no immediate reaction to the move from Turkey, which has strongly condemned similar resolutions passed by about two dozen other nations and insists that the mass killings did not constitute a genocide.
The bill has to be approved by the Argentine Senate in order to become a law. Officials in Buenos Aires say the upper house could discuss it as early as next week.
Argentina is home to tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians, most of them descendants of genocide survivors. They have long been lobbying the authorities in Buenos Aires to officially recognize the genocide. Neighboring Uruguay, which also has an influential Armenian community, did so several years ago.