The ANCA held a productive and positive meeting with the Rep. Royce, on a wide variety of topics, including efforts to bring peace and freedom to the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh). Read about it here. 06/02/2016 -
Rep. Royce issued a statement welcoming Germany's recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Read his statement here. 01/06/2016 -
Rep. Royce leads a closed-door House Foreign Affairs Committee classified briefing with OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair James Warlick regarding the Nagorno Karabakh peace process. Read the statement here. 05/14/2015 -
Rep. Royce welcomes U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. Read more here. 04/23/15 -
Rep. Royce offered remarks on the House floor in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide - "Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from California, and I also rise today on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Mr. Speaker, that period of time represented a generation of Armenians, a generation lost to assassination, to depravation, to assault, to starvation, 1.5 million souls, a half a million others left homeless, decades of Armenian culture and history and religion erased from the landscape of Anatolia; and, on this significant anniversary, 100 years, we cannot remain silent.
Pope Francis said it clearly when he called on the world leaders to "oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise."
Our National Archives is filled with thousands of pages documenting the premeditated extermination of the Armenian people. Our own Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, recalled in his memoirs that that Ottoman Empire "never had the slightest idea of reestablishing the Armenians in a new country," knowing that "the great majority of those would ..... either die of thirst and starvation, or be murdered by the wild ..... desert tribes."
Growing up in Anaheim, I knew an elderly Armenian who had survived the genocide only because of a compassionate Turkish family that hid him from sight, and he was the only one in his village - the only Armenian in his village - that survived.
The U.S. has long been a global leader in promoting human rights around the world. The issue of the Armenian genocide is taught in our textbooks. The French, Swiss, Swedish, German Governments, the Russian Government, they recognized the Armenian genocide, as does the EU. As a global leader in human rights, it is important for the U.S. to stand on principle and recognize the annihilation of the Armenians as genocide.
While the Armenian genocide was the first of the 20th century, the blind eye cast to the slaughter of Armenians at the time was a point used by Hitler when he said to his officer corps: "Who ..... speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
My friends, history is a continuum. Yesterday impacts today, which impacts tomorrow. It is much harder to get tomorrow right if we get yesterday wrong. The world's strength to oppose killing today is made greater by accountability for actions present but also past. It is weakened by denial of accountability of past acts. Not recognizing the Armenian genocide. as such, weakens us.
I wanted to say a bit about the Near East Relief, which was the name of the American charity specifically organized in response to the Armenian genocide. I quoted our Ambassador at the time, Henry Morgenthau, and he very much urged support for this effort.
Through public rallies and church collections and with the assistance of charitable organizations and foundations, that committee raised millions in his campaign to save the starving Armenians as the campaign went across the country with that theme.
Between 1915 and 1930, when it ended operations, Near East Relief administered an amazing $117 million in assistance. It delivered food, clothing, and materials for shelter by the shipload from America. It set up refugee camps in clinics and hospitals, orphanages, and centers for vocational training.
Near East Relief is credited for having cared for 130,000 Armenian orphans scattered across a region that stretched from Tbilisi to Yerevan to Istanbul, Beirut, Damascus, and Jerusalem. Where they could find those orphans, they cared for those orphans.
Near East Relief was an act which quite literally kept a people, a nation, alive. Unfortunately, since 1950, hundreds of Armenian religious, historic, and cultural sites have been confiscated. They have been destroyed. They have been vandalized.
Turkish leaders must act now to prevent losing any more. The United States must keep pressing Turkish leaders until they commit to protecting these sites and to return all confiscated church properties to their rightful owners.
In addition, we must work to protect those Armenians who are living under the threat of violence today.
Armenians in Syria are increasingly targeted for violence by Islamist terrorists due to their religious beliefs, and, in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenians have suffered under the greatest escalation of violence along the line of conflict in 20 years.
As we remember the victims of the first genocide of the 20th century, let us also commit to working for the safety and freedom of their descendents. Such efforts would be a fitting and needed tribute to the innocent victims of the Armenian genocide.