- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "As this historic day comes to a close, my thoughts are with the Armenian community in America and around the world. Over my years in Congress, Ive sat with survivors of the Genocide and heard their harrowing tales of tragedy and suffering at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, and their inspiring stories of perseverance and resilience as they forged new lives in Los Angeles and across America. Every Armenian family carries with them the memory of the parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and others who were murdered as part of the effort to exterminate the Armenian people.
It has been my profound honor to fight for recognition and justice alongside thousands upon thousands of my Armenian American constituents for nearly twenty years. I know that many of them have been working and praying for this moment for their entire lives, and my heart is with the Armenian American community tonight. Although nothing can undo the atrocities visited upon your ancestors, I hope today has brought some measure of peace and justice." View the Facebook post here. 04/24/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "For Armenian-Americans and everyone who believes in human rights and the truth, today marks an historic milestone: President Biden has defied Turkish threats and recognized the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians for what it was - the first genocide of the 20th Century. In so doing, he has cast aside decades of shameful silence and half-truths, and the broken promises of so many of his predecessors, and spoken truth to power.
This is a momentous day for thousands upon thousands of my Armenian-American constituents who have been working, advocating, and praying for recognition for their entire lives and I am heartened that this announcement comes at a time when there are still some genocide survivors alive to witness it, though their numbers are very small. It also comes at a time of new dangers to the Armenian people, after Azerbaijan and Turkey made war on the people of Artsakh.
As we commemorate the 106th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we can now do so now, secure in the knowledge that our nation, both the President and the Congress, speak with one voice:
We will never again be silenced. And we will never forget.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-04-24/biden-formally-recognizes-armenian-killings-as-genocide" View the Facebook post here. 04/24/21
- Rep. Schiff tweeted ".@POTUS' recognition of the Armenian Genocide comes after decades of struggle.
After years of Turkish threats and intimidation
After a murderous war on the people of Artsakh
After so many heartbreaks and disappointments
Thank you, President Biden, for speaking truth to power." View the tweet here. 04/23/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "Ive been on the phone for weeks with top members of the Biden Administration to urge the President to break Americas shameful silence and officially recognize the Armenian genocide.
For too long, American presidents have allowed Turkeys threats and intimidation campaigns to eclipse our moral obligation to speak truth to power. But our relationship with Turkey must be built on more than complicity in the denial of genocide such denial runs counter to our American values and is an affront to millions of Armenians, in Yerevan and across the world, including tens of thousands of my constituents.
Tomorrow, on the 106th anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide, I hope President Biden will honor his pledge and recognize this historic human rights violation for what it was: the first genocide of the 20th century." View the Facebook post here. 04/21/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "On April 24th, the world will mark the 106th anniversary of the first days of the Armenian Genocide, which saw the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and the displacement of many more. Yet for decades, while leaders around the world recognize the first genocide of the 20th century, American presidents both Democrats and Republicans have remained deafeningly silent.
As a candidate, President Biden promised to break this shameful silence and become the first sitting President to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Im proud to join with over one hundred bipartisan members of Congress in delivering this open letter to President Biden, urging him to keep his word and speak this painful truth to power. There can be no doubt: this was a genocide. And, in the words of Elie Wiesel, to call it anything less or deny the truth in all of its unvarnished horror would be a double killing. Its time to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Read our letter: https://schiff.house.gov/news/press-releases/over-100-bipartisan-members-urge-president-biden-to-recognize-armenian-genocide-" View the Facebook post here. 04/20/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "An open letter to President Joseph R. Biden:
Mr. President, in just five days, the world will mark the 106th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, the systemic murder and displacement of 1.5 million Armenian women, men, and children by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. This will be the first April 24th of your presidency, and your first opportunity to follow through on your promise to recognize the genocide and your decades of leadership on this issue.
On behalf of hundreds of thousands of Armenian Americans, the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of genocide survivors, I ask you:
Keep that promise. Recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The facts of the genocide are not in serious dispute. They were recorded in real time by American diplomats who lacked a name for the barbaric and systematic extermination of the Armenian people, but knew that it was without precedent in human history. Millions of Armenians were beaten, raped, killed, and marched across deserts by the Ottoman Empire.
From the blood and rubble, the Armenian people survived. Tens of thousands of orphaned children owe their lives to the generosity of Americans who created the Near East Relief Foundation. Those children and their descendants crossed the ocean to build lives, in Los Angeles and across the nation.
You know these facts well and you have spoken about them directly, including as a candidate for president. As president, it is now in your power to right decades of wrongs and in so doing give meaning to your statement last year, when you acknowledged the genocide and said silence is complicity.
As a candidate and now as president, you have spoken of your commitment to human rights. You have spoken of an America who leads, not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. If that principle is to have meaning, we cannot waiver from it just because it may be inconvenient.
The word genocide is significant, because genocide is not a problem of the past, it is a problem of today, including in Xinjiang, where Uyghurs face a relentless campaign by the Chinese Communist Party to wipe out their culture. And it is a danger today in Artsakh, where Turkey assisted Azerbaijan in making war on the Armenians again, and in so doing, threaten another potential genocide. What a comfort it would be to the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in the present day if the most powerful nation on earth could be cowed into silence about the events of a century ago.
In recognizing the Genocide, you will be joining both the House and the Senate who voted overwhelmingly in 2019 to do so. As you well know, for decades those of us who supported recognition of the genocide faced a ferocious opposition, premised on the harm that such a vote would cause to our relations with Turkey and to our national security.
Yet what happened is precisely what we all predicted. Turkey protested, but the relationship between Turkey and the United States did not change, or if it has changed, it has done so for reasons having nothing to do with the Armenian Genocide and everything to do with Turkeys drift towards autocracy. The Turkish government and their well-heeled DC lobby has mobilized as they do every year around this time. They are spinning up fear aimed at keeping the gag order in place.
Mr. President, we must not resort to euphemisms or half-truths. The murder of 1.5 million Armenians was an atrocity that is surely true but it was more than that. The act of seeking to destroy a people and a culture is a different kind of evil, and it was not until Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide that we had a word to describe it.
Denial of genocide is a profanity, and in the words of Elie Wiesel, it is a double killing.
Millions of Armenians, in Yerevan and across the world, tens of thousands of my constituents, Mr. President, will look to you later this week, to see if you will join leaders in France, Germany, the European Union, the Vatican, and in 49 states in recognizing the genocide.
It is my deepest wish that you will speak the truth in all of its horror, and recognize the Armenian Genocide." View the Facebook post here. 04/20/21
- Rep. Schiff tweeted "An open letter to @POTUS:
This week, the world will mark the 106th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
This is the first April 24 of your presidency, your first chance to keep your promise to hundreds of thousands of Armenian Americans:
Recognize the Armenian Genocide." View the tweet here. 03/23/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "The latest report from Human Rights Watch confirmed what many of us feared: Azerbaijani forces abused Armenian prisoners of war and civilians, and with an estimated 200 still being unlawfully detained, there is a risk of further abuse. The torture and cruelty inflicted on these Armenian captives is a gross violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions, and those responsible must be held accountable.
Last week, I introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for the immediate release of the Armenian servicemen and civilians detained by Azerbaijani forces months after the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I also called for the U.S. State Department to reinvigorate the OSCE Minsk Group process and reengage Azerbaijani authorities to make clear the importance of adhering to the November 9 statement that ended the war. This Human Rights Watch report further underscores the urgency of this resolution. Every moment we delay is another moment that Armenian captives suffer at the hands of Azerbaijani forces. The time for decisive action is now." View the Facebook post here. 03/16/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "More than 100 days after the end of the war in Artsakh, an estimated 200 Armenian service members and civilians remain in Azerbaijani custody, where little is known of their condition, treatment, or well-being. Their continued captivity is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions and the commitments that Azerbaijan made in the November 9 statement that ended the war. It is completely unacceptable, and given the documented atrocities committed by Azerbaijani forces during the war, there is every reason to fear for the safety of these captives.
Im proud to introduce a House Resolution calling for the immediate release of those detained, and to have the bipartisan support of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. Azerbaijan has an obligation to free Armenian captives without delay, and they should know that failing to do so will just demonstrate further their contempt for human rights and the need to reevaluate the U.S. relationship with the regime in Baku. The United States must use all diplomatic means available to ensure that the release happens swiftly and safely, and to impose consequences on Azerbaijan for their continued violations of human rights.
Statement: https://schiff.house.gov/news/press-releases/armenian-caucus-co-chairs-introduce-resolution-urging-azerbaijan-to-release-all-prisoners-of-war-and-captured-civilians-" View the Facebook post here. 02/03/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "Its been nearly three months since the deal that brought at least a momentary end to the devastating war in Artsakh, following the assault by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Yet Azerbaijan continues to refuse to release dozens of Armenian prisoners of war, both military and civilians. It also continues to threaten religious and cultural Armenian sites that have fallen under Azerbaijani control.
The United States must reengage with the Minsk Group to demand self-determination and peace for the people of Artsakh, and our first priority should be the immediate release of all POWs. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to impose meaningful consequences on Turkey and Azerbaijan for their illegal attack on Artsakh, and to put U.S. policy where it should be: Standing up for human rights and democracy." View the Facebook post here. 02/01/21
- Rep. Schiff posted the following to Facebook: "President Biden has signaled he will focus on restoring the United States as a force for democracy and human rights around the world. An early test for the administration will be found in a small and often overlooked enclave in the South Caucasus region known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
This conflict and its aftermath represent an opportunity for Biden to do just that. It pits a democratic Armenia and Artsakh against autocratic regimes in Baku and Ankara who abuse human rights, imprison reporters and dissidents, and crush dissent. America must lead with our values instead of perpetuating a transactional foreign policy that looks the other way as Azerbaijan invades its neighbors and commits human-rights violations at home and abroad.
In the past few weeks, the world witnessed the triumph of American democracy over a would-be autocrat, culminating in the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20. Yet, the extraordinary foreign and domestic challenges facing President Biden could not be more apparent. He now has the opportunity to reshape a U.S. foreign policy that under President Donald Trump has departed from our core democratic interests and values.
Read more from Congresswoman Jackie Speier and I in the San Francisco Chronicle:" View the Facebook post here.