WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today welcomed the adoption yesterday by the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation (H.R.562) recognizing the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-33 and authorizing the Government of Ukraine to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of this crime against humanity.
“We join with our friends in the Ukrainian American community in welcoming the adoption by the U.S. House this week of legislation appropriately commemorating the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide through the creation of a memorial here in our nation’s capital,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We attach great weight to the powerful words spoken during debate on this legislation by Congressman Levin – who so capably shepherded this measure through the legislative process – underscoring the need to remember human rights atrocities of the past in order to prevent their recurrence. In this same spirit, we call upon Speaker Hastert to bring Armenian Genocide legislation to the House floor.”
In his comments on the House floor during consideration of the measure, the resolution’s author, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), explained that, “during the Famine Genocide of 1932-33, between 7 and 10 million Ukrainians were deliberately and systematically starved to death. He stressed to his colleagues that, “the memorial authorized by this bill will not only honor their memory, but serve as a tangible reminder to all of us that we must work together to prevent such tragedies in the future.” He added that, “preventing the recurrence of crimes against humanity, such as the Ukrainian Famine Fenocide, begins with remembering the tragedies of the past. That is why I believe it is so important for there to be this monument, remembering the millions of innocent victims.”
Also speaking in favor of the measure were Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Corrine Brown (D-FL). The legislation was introduced on February 2, 2005 and was referred to the Committee on Resources. On June 9th, the Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing regarding this bill. At the hearing, the proposed legislation received overwhelming support within the panel. The National Parks Committee Regional Director for the National Capital Region Joseph Lawler, however, expressed the Park Committee’s opposition to this legislation, noting its reservations about “creating separate memorials for individual groups.” The measure was cosponsored by 36 Representatives prior to Speaker Hastert’s scheduling of the measure for a vote on the House floor. Armenian Genocide legislation is currently cosponsored by over 170 Representatives.
The full text of H.R. 562 is provided below.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH MEMORIAL.
(a) In General. The Government of Ukraine is authorized to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932-1933.
(b) Compliance With Standards for Commemorative Works. The establishment of the memorial shall be in accordance with chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code (commonly known as the “Commemorative Works Act”), except that sections 8902(a)(1), 8906(b)(1), 8908(b)(2), and 8909(b) shall not apply with respect to the memorial.
SEC. 2. LIMITATION ON PAYMENT OF EXPENSES.
The United States Government shall not pay any expense for the establishment of the memorial or its maintenance.