April 22, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel. (202) 775-1918

ANCA Response to Reports that President Biden is Preparing to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC – Following up on media reports that President Joe Biden is set to accurately and honestly condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide this April 24th, the international day of remembrance for this crime, Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian issued the following statement:

“We are cautiously optimistic about media reports that President Biden is going to reset U.S. policy by properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide, effectively ending the longest lasting foreign gag-rule in American history. This principled stand represents a powerful setback to Turkey’s century-long obstruction of justice for this crime, and its ongoing hostility and aggression against the Armenian people.”

“Armenian Genocide recognition holds great meaning in terms of remembrance, but it is – at its heart – about the justice deserved and the security required for the survival of the Armenian nation – a landlocked, blockaded, genocide-survivor state.”

“Armenian Genocide recognition is particularly impactful today, in the wake of Turkey and Azerbaijan’s genocidal attacks last fall against Armenia and Artsakh, which resulted in a regional humanitarian disaster including the displacement of over 100,000 Armenians from their homes, the ongoing Azerbaijani imprisonment of over 200 Armenian POWS, and Aliyev’s threats of renewed Azerbaijani attacks on southern Armenia – made as recently as this week.”

“President Biden’s recognition must translate into a fundamental reset in U.S. policy toward the region – one which ensures the security of Armenia and Artsakh, and lays the groundwork for a durable peace based upon a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide.”

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Editor’s Note: Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian is available for comment and interviews. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Chouldjian at anca@anca.org or call 202-775-1918 / 703-585-8254 cell.

BACKGROUND:

The Armenian Genocide was the centrally planned and systematically executed deportation and murder of over 2 million Christian Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915-1923.

Despite overwhelming documentation by historians and condemnation by over 25 countries worldwide, an unrepentant Turkey seeks to both enforce an international gag-rule against truthful affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and to obstruct a just international resolution of this still unpunished crime.

April 24th is the internationally recognized day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide

Read a historical overview here:
https://anca.org/synopsis-history-armenians-in-the-ottoman-empire/

2021 Congressional and Grassroots Action Leading Up to President Biden’s April 24th Statement

On April 21st, a bipartisan group of 107 U.S. House Members today called on President Biden to “clearly and directly recognize the Armenian Genocide” in his upcoming April 24 statement, ending Turkey’s foreign gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of this crime. The PDF of the letter is available at: https://anca.org/assets/graphics/pdf/042121_HouseGenocideLetter.pdf

On March 19th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was joined by by 37 Senators calling on President Biden to follow the lead of Congress in fully and formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The PDF of the letter is available here: https://anca.org/assets/pdf/031921_Menendez_Senate_ArmenianGenocide.pdf

— In the past several months, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) rallied Armenian Americans from all 50 states to send over 1,000,000 messages to the White House and Congress – generating powerful momentum for President Biden to speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide this April. The ANCA action portal is available here: http://anca.org/genocide. Additional information available here: https://anca.org/press-release/anca-supporters-send-over-1-million-messages-to-white-house-and-congress-on-armenian-genocide/

Presidential Candidate Biden’s Pledge to Support Armenian Genocide Recognition

President Biden referenced the Armenian Genocide multiple times during his presidential candidacy.

In his April 24, 2020, statement, Presidential Candidate Biden noted, “during my years in the Senate, I was proud to lead efforts to recognize the genocide against the Armenian people. Last year, I was pleased to endorse bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate that officially recognized and established an ongoing U.S. commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. If elected, I pledge to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide…”

On September, 16, 2019, Presidential candidate Joe Biden, in a letter to the ANCA, stated that, “The United States must reaffirm, once and for all, our record on the Armenian Genocide. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children and the mass deportation of 2 million Armenians from their homes. If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words ‘never again’ lose their meaning. The facts must be as clear and as powerful for future generations as for those whose memories are seared by tragedy. Failing to remember or acknowledge the fact of a genocide only paves the way for future mass atrocities.” See the letter here.

— In January, 2021, during his confirmation process, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, responding to questions by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) regarding the Biden Administration’s policy on the Armenian Genocide, answered “Our administration will be committed to prioritizing human rights and ensuring such a tragedy is not repeated. The Administration will determine the wording for the White House statement to mark Remembrance Day once in office and will consult with Congress on this important issue.”

Secretary Blinken’s responses to Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) are available here: https://anca.org/press-release/blinken-biden-administration-will-consult-with-congress-on-april-24th-statement/

U.S. Record on Armenian Genocide Affirmation

The U.S. first recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1951 through a filing which was included in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Report titled: “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report: “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”

President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide in 1981. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation on the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996. In 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate overwhelmingly adopted Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.220 / S.Res.150).

Since 1965, forty-nine U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide through resolution or proclamation, with only Mississippi yet to accurately commemorate and condemn this crime.

From 1915-1930, the U.S. provided unprecedented humanitarian assistance to save victims of that crime. Over a period of 15 years from 1915 to 1930, the congressionally mandated Near East Relief (NER) mobilized the entire American nation, and indeed the world, into a well-organized and well-funded relief effort which successfully saved over 1,000,000 refugees and 132,000 orphans of the Armenian Nation and other Christian minorities. Despite its initial fundraising goal of $100,000 which was later raised to $30 million, the NER ultimately raised $117 million, the equivalent of $2.7 billion in today’s dollars. Through the efforts of over 1000 volunteers and the support of the American people, NER built over 400 orphanages, food and clothing distribution centers, medical clinics and hospitals, and vocational training schools throughout the Near East to house and care for the survivors.

Learn more about the Near East Relief humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide including state-by-state assistance efforts here:
https://americawethankyou.org

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