WASHINGTON, DC – New York Republican John Sweeney and California Democrat Anna Eshoo have joined together in the effort to encourage their Congressional colleagues to cosign a letter to Speaker Hastert urging him to maintain the Schiff amendment in the House Foreign aid bill and schedule a vote on the Genocide Resolution, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). The letter currently has over 60 signatories and support continues to grow in the days leading up to the House and Senate conference to finalize the FY 2005 foreign aid bill.
In a letter to House Members, Reps. Eshoo and Sweeney, both of Armenian descent, explained:
“Under the Ottoman Empire, nearly two million Armenians who were living in Eastern Anatolia were deported from their homes. Of the two million deportees, only 500,000 survived this ordeal. The historical record is clear. From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire succeeded in systematically eliminating the Armenians from their historical homeland where they had lived for over two thousand years. H.Res.193 reaffirmed our nation’s commitment to the noble aims of the Genocide Convention, and urges the American people to learn from the lessons of past genocides in order to help prevent future crimes against humanity.”
The complete text of the Eshoo-Sweeney letter follows.
The Schiff Amendment, spearheaded by California Democrat Adam Schiff, was unanimously adopted by the House in a voice vote, during discussions of the FY 2005 foreign aid bill. The legislation would bar the Turkish government from using U.S. foreign aid funds for lobbying against the Genocide resolution. Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) immediately denounced the measure in a harshly worded press release placed on the front page of the House Speaker’s website, citing concerns about its effects on U.S.-Turkey relations and pledging to remove the language from the final foreign aid bill.
Following the Speaker’s announced opposition to the measure, more than a dozen national grassroots Armenian American organizations cosigned a letter to the House leader, voicing the community’s unequivocal opposition to efforts to reverse the Schiff Amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Foreign Operations bill, and expressing the community’s “great dismay with your public statement against holding a vote on the Genocide Resolution, H.Res.193.” The organizations that signed the community-wide letter were the ANCA, the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church – Eastern and Western U.S., the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church – Eastern and Western U.S., the Armenian Missionary Association of America, and the Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics, as well as the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Democratic Liberal (Ramgavar) Party, United Armenian Fund, Armenian Relief Society, Armenian Bar Association, National Organization of Republican Armenians, Armenian Youth Federation, Homenetmen – Armenian General Athletic Union, and Hamazkayn Armenian Cultural and Educational Association.
Reps. George Radanovich (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) introduced the Genocide resolution (H.Res.193) in April, 2003. The legislation (H.Res.193) was unanimously adopted by the House Judiciary Committee in May of that year and currently has 111 cosponsors. Similar legislation in the Senate (S.Res.164) has over 40 cosponsors.
Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515
September 15, 2004
Help Honor the Victims of the Armenian Genocide
“It is generally not known in the world that, in the years preceding 1916, there was a concerted effort made to eliminate all the Armenian people, probably one of the greatest tragedies that ever befell any group. And there weren’t any Nurenberg trials.” – President Jimmy Carter
As Armenian descendents, we respectfully request you to join us in signing the attached letter to Speaker Hastert in support of the Schiff amendment to the FY2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, and H.Res.193, the Genocide Resolution.
As you may know, the Schiff amendment was passed in July, prohibiting the government of Turkey from using U.S. foreign aid to lobby against H.Res.193, legislation officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Following the adoption of this amendment, Speaker Hastert issued a statement announcing his intention to keep H.Res.193 off the floor, legislation which has already been cosponsored by 100 of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
Both H.Res.193, and its companion measure in the Senate, S.Res.164, enjoy broad, bipartisan backing and the support of a broad-based coalition of over 100 human and civil rights organizations, including the National Council of Churches, American Values, Union of Orthodox Rabbis, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, International Campaign for Tibet, Sons of Italy, and all major Armenian American groups.
Under the Ottoman Empire, nearly two million Armenians who were living in Eastern Anatolia were deported from their homes. Of the two million deportees, only 500,000 survived this ordeal. The historical record is clear. From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire succeeded in systematically eliminating the Armenians from their historical homeland where they had lived for over two thousand years. H.Res.193 reaffirmed our nation’s commitment to the noble aims of the Genocide Convention, and urges the American people to learn from the lessons of past genocides in order to help prevent future crimes against humanity.
As we watch violence all too familiar unfold in the African nation of Sudan, we urge you to join us in asking the Speaker to give us the chance to act by bringing the Genocide Resolution to the floor for a vote. We hope that you will join us in this significant endeavor. To sign this letter, or to receive more information, you can contact Tim Bergreen in Representative Schiff’s office at Timothy.Bergreen@mail.house.gov, or at 5-4176.
Member of Congress
John E. Sweeney
Member of Congress