WASHINGTON, DC – The highly regarded and influential chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), a longtime supporter of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, officially announced his support yesterday for the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.106), reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Armenian Americans – and all those committed to forever ending the cycle of genocide – welcome Chairman Biden’s principled support for Congressional reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, and thank him for his years of leadership in helping to put America back on the right side of this compelling moral and foreign policy issue,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
Chairman Biden has long been a supporter of proper U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, cosponsoring legislation in successive sessions of Congress. Last year, he introduced legislation “condemning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights advocate Hrant Dink and urging the people of Turkey to honor his legacy of tolerance.” The resolution, S.Res.65, noted that Dink was “subjected to legal action under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for referring to the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide.” Chairman Biden also led Senate Foreign Relations Committee efforts to uncover the circumstances surrounding the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, for properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide as a clear case of genocide.
The Armenian Genocide Resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. Senator Biden’s decision yesterday brings the official Senate cosponsor list to 34.
Introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), the legislation has the support of key Senate leaders including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), called for Congressional adoption of the legislation. “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President,” noted Sen. Obama.
Similar legislation in the U.S. House (H.Res.106), spearheaded by Rep. Adam Schiff along with Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), has over 200 cosponsors and was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2007, despite Turkish threats, the strong opposition of the Bush Administration and personal lobbying by the President.
Over the past year, Armenian Americans and human rights advocates have joined with Members of Congress in educating their colleagues about the Armenian Genocide and the importance of proper recognition of this crime against humanity. The ANCA has mounted several national grassroots initiatives including the highly successful “Click for Justice” and “Call for Justice” campaigns as well as the “End the Cycle of Genocide” Advocacy Days, cosponsored with the Genocide Intervention Network.
PHOTO CAPTION: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) with ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian and Legislative Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian.