Article by: Alya Shandra
On 7 November 2015, a memorial for Ukraine’s greatest famine, the Holodomor, will be dedicated in Washington DC. Ahead of the ceremony, the Ukrainian World Congress renewed its call to recognize the man-made famine as a genocide by the UN and national governments that hadn’t done so yet. Recently, a petition has been launched to the UK government to recognize Holodomor as an act of genocide.
Find out about the Holodomor at a glimpse: Holodomor: Stalin’s genocidal famine of 1932-1933 | Infographic
We decided to take a look at the governments that had officially recognized the famine as a genocide, according to data from Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.
Other countries and institutions have issued statements recognizing Holodomor as tragedy or crime against humanity but did not use the word “genocide.” For instance,
The European Parliament in a resolution from 2008 “recognises the Holodomor (the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine) as an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity.”
The United Nations in a joint statement from 2003 refers to Holodomor as a “national tragedy of the Ukrainian people.”
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a resolution from 2010 “strongly condemns the cruel policies pursued by the Stalinist regime, which resulted in the death of millions of innocent people, as a crime against humanity.”
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in a resolution from 2008 states that Holodomor was a “mass starvation brought about by the cruel deliberate actions and policies of totalitarian Stalinist regime.”
The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture in a resolution from 2007 recognizes Holodomor as the “national tragedy of the Ukrainian people, caused by the cruel actions and policies of the totalitarian regime.”
NOTE on the U.S. government position regarding the Holodomor as genocide, by Lana Babij for holodomorct.org:
Many websites, including Wikipedia, list the U.S. among the countries that recognize the Holodomor as genocide. U.S. official documents make reference to the Holodomor as genocide, but there is no Congressional resolution that actually explicitly “resolves” that the Holodomor is genocide, [nor is there a U.S. law that explicitly recognizes that the Holodomor is a genocide, except as noted below.]
The U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine. Investigation of the Ukrainian Famine, 1932-1933: Report to Congress. (1988), in its Executive Summary lists 19 findings, of which no. 16, states: “Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933.” This statement is the closest to an official declaration; however, the findings of commissions are considered advisory, rather than having the legal weight of Congressional resolutions that must be passed and approved.
Wikipedia cites as the recognition document: H. RES. 356 [108th] “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the man-made famine that occurred in Ukraine in 1932–1933.” (2003). However, nowhere does this document “resolve” that the famine is genocide. It simply refers to the US Commission finding no.16 in one of several “whereas” statements that contribute to the final parts of the resolution, among them that: “this man-made famine was designed and implemented by the Soviet regime as a deliberate act of terror and mass murder against the Ukrainian people.”
In the Senate, also in 2003, the following Resolution was introduced, but NOT passed: S.RES. 202 [108th] – “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the genocidal Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933” This resolution, did in fact resolve (#4, on p. 3 of the bill (pdf):
“(4) the manmade Ukraine famine of 1932–33 15 was an act of genocide as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention;”
Unfortunately, S. Res. 202 died in Committee and was never put to a vote on the floor.
Another resolution was passed in the House in 2008: H. RES.1314 [110th] which clearly describes the genocidal nature of the famine and refers to the US Commission findings, but again without directly calling the famine a genocide, or resolving that it is a genocide.[ However, this 2006 US law might be construed to show US acknowledgement – indirectly: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ340/pdf/PLAW-109publ340.pdf (which authorizes funding for the Holodomor memorial) where it says:
(a) IN GENERAL.—The Government of Ukraine is authorized to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932– 1933. ]