Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ukraine Seeks U.N. Resolution

UNITED NATIONS, USA -- Ukraine is campaigning for a U.N. General Assembly resolution that would declare the 1932-33 famine that killed up to 10 million people a genocide, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said.


Ukraine has the support of several nations and Tarasyuk will use the two-week annual U.N. General Assembly event now under way to canvass dozens more, he said in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday. The resolution would accuse Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's regime of deliberately instigating what Ukrainians call the Great Famine.

"We expect that the delegations here at the United Nations will deplore this artificially made famine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people," Tarasyuk told The Associated Press. "We would like that the international community pay tribute to those who perished."

Stalin provoked the famine as part of his campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to give up their land and join collective farms. Cannibalism was widespread during the height of the disaster, which was enforced by the confiscation of all food by the Soviet secret police.

Ukraine has long sought international recognition of the famine as a genocide, but has been unable to overcome opposition from Russia and governments that do not want to upset Moscow. The famine was kept secret by the Soviet authorities, and it was only in 2003 that Ukraine declassified more than 1,000 files documenting it.

That same year, Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Valery Kuchinsky presented a statement signed by 30 countries that condemned the actions of Stalin's regime but stopped short of calling the famine a genocide.

Ukraine will mark the 75th anniversary of the famine in 2008, and Tarasyuk said that would be an appropriate time for a General Assembly resolution calling it a genocide.

Earlier this year, Ukraine failed in its bid for the Commonwealth of Independent States, made up of 12 former Soviet republics, to consider recognizing the famine as a genocide.

Source: AP

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