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Ottoman Empire: Armenians

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 19 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether legislation in (a) France, and (b) Austria, which prevents free discussion of the circumstances in which Armenians and Turks lost their lives in 1915–16, is compatible with membership of the European Union. [HL3022]

We are not aware of legislation in France or Austria preventing free discussion of the events in Ottoman Turkey in 1915-16. A Bill criminalising denial of the events as “genocide” passed through the French Parliament in October 2006, but is not yet law. As well as their undertakings under other international human rights law, all members of the EU are obliged to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 10 of the convention covers the right of freedom of expression, although that right may be subject to restrictions in certain circumstances specified in the convention. An individual prosecuted under national law in a member state of the EU may challenge the legislation in the European Court of Human Rights.