In a letter to The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly, the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada states:
Canadians are dismayed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and its baffling decision to disregard 70 years of human rights violations by the Soviet Union.
Members of the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), representing over 3 million Canadians, are calling for an independent review of the contents of the CMHR, the reconstitution of its Board of Trustees and an embargo on any further or incremental funding for this deeply flawed museum.
The CEEC fully agrees with the goals that Mr Stuart Murray, President and Chief Executive of the Museum for Human Rights espoused in his recent letter to the Hill Times. Where we diverge from his views is his stubborn stand not to dedicate a full and permanent sector to a century of Human rights violations by the Soviet Union. We are dismayed that the hard lessons learned by our communities will be passed on to future generations in diminished form. The violations by the Soviet Union provide greater insight into the subject matter than any other. All of the examples that Mr. Murray cites-- gender issues, the rights of persons with disabilities, sexual orientation, children’s rights, women’s equality, labour rights, poverty, racism, language rights, age and migration/immigration have no greater juxtaposition for comparison than 70 years of a society immersed in Soviet repression.
The Holodomor, Katyn, Mass deportations of Baltic peoples, the Gulag Archipelago of slave labour camps, the Berlin Wall, Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, and so on are all tragic episodes of one monstrous event. This fact seems to be lost on Mr Murray and his Board. To callously ignore or diminish Soviet repression in this National Museum will also marginalize or outright ignore the dedicated efforts of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who fit the criteria set by Mr. Murray –i.e. “human rights champions and everyday victors who have fought tirelessly and persevered in the fight for human rights.”
We are not asking for the exclusion or replacement of the two groups that Mr. Murray has chosen to emphasize, but ask for appropriate inclusion of Soviet repression. We only need to remind Mr Murray that more than 1 out of 10 Canadians is here in Canada as a direct result of the actions of the Kremlin to show its impact on Canada and our history.
Mr. Murray claims that the museum will inspire debate and dialogue and leave visitors with a sense of hope. Not so. The present debate swirling around this museum regarding the absence of Soviet repression will prevail and visitors will leave the museum mystified by the museum’s selective agenda. Canada and Canadians deserve better treatment of this sacred topic. It's time for the Minister of Heritage to replace the Trustees and management with Canadians who fully understand Human Rights, its history and goals.
Central and Eastern European Council
Markus Hess, Chairman
The Central and Eastern European Council represents nearly 4 million Canadians of Eastern and Central European heritage and includes as members, the Councils and Congresses of the Ukranian, Polish, Hungarian, Slovak, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian communities in Canada.
Central and Eastern European Council of Canada decries minimization of Soviet crimes in Canadian Museum of Human Rights (1)