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Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Remembrance Features Bipartisan Calls on White House and Congress to Reject Turkey’s Gag-Rule
Legislators express bipartisan support for passage of Genocide Prevention Resolution H.Res.220
WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives joined with Armenian American community leaders, genocide-prevention coalition partners, and diplomats representing Armenia and Artsakh in a standing-room-only Capitol Hill remembrance of the Armenian Genocide that featured strong bipartisan calls on the President and Congress to reject the gag-rule that Ankara has long enforced against honest American commemoration of this still-unpunished crime against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We were pleased to join, once again, with our friends in the Armenian Caucus to bring together so many legislators, community leaders, and coalition partners for today’s Capitol Hill remembrance,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “With renewed resolve, we reaffirmed our collective commitment to ending U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, overcoming Turkey’s obstruction of justice for this crime, and paving the way toward a truthful and just international resolution that will contribute to Armenia’s security and, ultimately, serve all the citizens of the region.”
The annual Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide commemoration was sponsored by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, Office of the Artsakh Republic, and Armenian American organizations.
Members of the Senate and House participating in the solemn observance included Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Dave Trott (R-MI) and David Valadao (R-CA), Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY)
Capitol Hill veteran Dean Shahinian served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, inviting clerical leaders Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church Eastern US and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church to offer opening and closing prayers, respectively.
Among those offering keynote remarks were His Excellency Grigor Hovhannissian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia, the Honorable Robert Avetisyan, Artsakh Representative to the U.S, and Hayk Demoyan, the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan. Joining in the commemoration were California State University Fresno President Joseph Castro, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans and Mrs. Donna Evans, and representatives of In Defense of Christians, Hellenic American Leadership Council, A Demand for Action, and other friends and allies from human rights groups and the Greek, Assyrian and Kurdish communities. ANCA National Board member Greg Bedian, from Chicago, took part in the remembrance.
Pictures from the event are available on the ANCA Facebook page.
Video from the annual observance will be available on the ANCA YouTube page in the upcoming days.
This year’s Congressional commemoration followed just two weeks after the special Capitol Hill viewing of “The Promise” – the Armenian Genocide-era epic starring Christian Bale, set for nationwide release on April 21st – which drew a capacity crowd of Members of Congress, senior Congressional aides, coalition partners, and a broad cross-section of the Washington, DC foreign policy community.
The viewing, hosted by Survival Pictures, Open Road Films, the Congressional Armenian Caucus and the ANCA, featured introductions by legislators and a question and answer session with Oscar Award winning director Terry George and producer Eric Esrailian. Among the Members of Congress participating in that program included Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Trott (R-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Paul Tonko (D-NY). Elected officials were joined by Republic of Armenia Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian, Republic of Artsakh Representative to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan, and former U.S. Ambassadors to Armenia John Evans and Michael Lemmon.