STATEMENT BY MP LEON BENOIT ON THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HUMAN RIGHTS February 8, 2011
Ukrainians Deserve Appropriate Spot in Canadian Museum of Human Rights OTTAWA (08 February 2011)– “There is currently a great deal of discussion and apprehension surrounding a recent Content Advisory Committee report regarding the Canadian Museum of Human Rights,” states Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright. “I understand the concerns expressed by Ukrainian-Canadians, who want to ensure the Museum reflects appropriate recognition of the Holodomor genocide of 1932-1933, as well as the Canadian internment of Ukrainians during World War I in the CMHR.”
Benoit has heard from constituents about their specific worries – that the Holodomor will be lumped into a general section of “Mass Atrocities” which does not provide autonomy and permanent recognition of the event in the museum. They are also worried that other elements of their history will not receive ample recognition and be subsumed under other permanent exhibits promoted by the Content Advisory Committee Report.
“I think the Advisory Committee is to be thanked for their report, but it is also important to remember that it is just a report,” states Benoit. “It isn’t the final decision and it isn’t government policy.”
The Holodomor was one of the largest genocides in world history, where it is estimated 10 million people perished. It was an attempt by the Soviets to stamp out Ukrainian nationalism and brutalize the Ukrainian people, a memory which remains acute among Canadian-Ukrainians and their families at home today. It ranks among one of the worst acts of genocide that humanity has ever committed. I believe recognition of the Holodomor should find a special place in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
“Canada is home to over 1.1 million people of Ukrainian decent, the third largest Ukrainian population in the world,” explains Benoit. “Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence, which attests to the close ties the two countries enjoy today. And the Canadian Parliament was one of the first in the world to recognize the Holodomor as genocide.
“I certainly believe that the Holodomor genocide should have a unique, autonomous and prominent place in the CMHR,” affirms Benoit. “I also think it is quite important that the CMHR Board of Directors contain respected members of the Ukrainian community with knowledge of the Holodomor and other human rights violations. I’m proud of our Government’s support for the CMHR. I hope the Museum’s Board of Trustees finds the courage to provide the Holodomor with the appropriate and respectful recognition it deserves.”
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