Blog: April 25 2016 | 18:00 PM

George Clooney in Yerevan for Armenian genocide

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During an award ceremony in Yerevan last night, Clooney named Marguerite Barankitse from Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital in the African republic of Burundi as an inaugural recipient of the Aurora Prize.

Ms Barankitse – a Tutsi who saved thousands of lives, including those of 30,000 children, and cared for orphans and refugees during the Burundi civil war – was given a $100,000 grant and will also nominate organisations to receive a $1 million award.

"Marguerite Barankitse serves as a reminder of the impact that one person can have even when encountering seemingly insurmountable persecution and injustice," Clooney said.

"We honour the million and a half lives that were lost 101 years ago. And we honour those lives by calling their tragedy by its true name – genocide, the Armenian Genocide."

During an award ceremony in Yerevan last night, Clooney named Marguerite Barankitse from Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital in the African republic of Burundi as an inaugural recipient of the Aurora Prize.



Ms Barankitse – a Tutsi who saved thousands of lives, including those of 30,000 children, and cared for orphans and refugees during the Burundi civil war – was given a $100,000 grant and will also nominate organisations to receive a $1 million award.

"Marguerite Barankitse serves as a reminder of the impact that one person can have even when encountering seemingly insurmountable persecution and injustice," Clooney said.

"We honour the million and a half lives that were lost 101 years ago. And we honour those lives by calling their tragedy by its true name – genocide, the Armenian Genocide."

Upon his arrival to Armenia, Clooney said the genocide "is a part of Armenia's history, it's also a part of the world's history, it's not the pain of one nation only".

Mr Sarkisian said April 24 was a day to "commemorate the sacred memory of the victims of the Armenian genocide".

Turkey's "policy of denial... has not changed, as has not changed its hostile stance toward everything that is Armenian", he said.

More than a century after the mass killings, tensions still run high between Yerevan and Ankara, which supports Armenia's foe Azerbaijan in the Caucasus neighbours' conflict over the control of the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.

Earlier this month, fierce clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in Karabakh claimed the lives of more than 100 people from all sides.

The clashes erupted on April 2 and ended days later with a Russian-mediated ceasefire, and were the worst in decades in the separatist region.

The outbreak of violence sparked fears of a wider conflict that could drag in regional powers Russia and Turkey.



Ankara openly supported its traditional ally, Baku.

Moscow and Ankara have been at loggerheads since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in Syria last November.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that "Karabakh will one day return to its original owner," while his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, vowed to stand by Baku "until the apocalypse".

Moscow, which has sold arms to both Armenia and Azerbaijan but has closer ties to Yerevan as well as a military base in the city, has denounced the comments as "unacceptable".

In a war in the 1990s that claimed some 30,000 lives, Yerevan-backed separatists seized control of the mountainous region inside Azerbaijan that is home to the ethnic Armenian majority. Azerbaijan and Armenia have not signed a peace deal despite a 1994 ceasefire, and sporadic violence on the line of contact regularly claims the lives of soldiers on both sides.

The fragile ceasefire is largely observed, but Azerbaijan yesterday claimed it had destroyed an Armenian tank and its crew and accused Yerevan of shelling Azerbaijani villages using heavy artillery.


Source: 9news
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