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Winnipeg Sun | 05Jul2012 | staff

CMHR deals with Holodomor group

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is partnering with a Ukrainian group to raise awareness of the Holodomor.

CEO Stuart Murray travelled to Kyiv to meet with the Memorial in Commemoration of Famines’ Victims in Ukraine, signing a collaboration deal with the Holodomor-focused museum yesterday.

"The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will strive to enhance understanding of human rights issues, not only in Canada, but internationally,” Murray said. “This partnership will help bring the story of the Holodomor to a wider audience, to the benefit of generations to come."

The groups plan to collaborate and share research.

The national museum is aiming to become an international research centre on famine, says CEO Victor Didenko.

“During the famine of 1932-1933, Ukraine lost at least four million people. This number is shocking," Didenko said. "The international community should realize that famine is the most terrible and powerful weapon of mass destruction. By means of hunger and the lack of food, tyrants conquered millions of people in the past; they suppressed their freedom and dignity and turned them into slaves.  International cooperation with the CMHR will facilitate the comprehensive and objective study of famine as a phenomenon that will prevent such tragedies in the future."

The CMHR's decision not to have a permanent Holodomor exhibit has angered many Manitobans and others of Ukranian descent. In April, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) launched a postcard campaign, directed at federal Heritage Minister James Moore, to push its point that because the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is publicly funded, it should be far more transparent in its goals for its galleries -- and should not "elevate the suffering of any community above all others."

[W.Z. It is my understanding that the Ukrainian Canadain Congress arranged for this meeting between the CMHR and the Ukrainian Holodomor Museum about a year ago. UCC personnel did not accompany the CMHR personnel on the trip.]