WASHINGTON, DC –Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) became, this week, the most recent additions to the growing bipartisan group of legislators supporting the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.316 and H.Res.252), reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The new support for this human rights legislation comes in the wake of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington, DC, last week, during which he repeatedly denied the Armenian Genocide. Responding to a question from journalist Charlie Rose, during an hour-long televised PBS interview on December 8th, Erdogan stated, “I can say very clearly that we do not accept genocide. This is completely a lie. I invite people to prove it. Something like this is really not possible, and there is no truth to it.”
“We want to thank Senators Boxer and Lieberman and Representative Sanchez for, once again standing up for principle, and against Turkey’s denials,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We look forward, in the weeks ahead, to working with these friends and our many others in both houses of Congress, to see this genocide-prevention legislation adopted at the very first opportunity.”
Armenian Americans and human rights activists have been contacting their legislators in support for the Congressional measures for a month leading up to Prime Minister Erdogan’s Washington, DC visit as part of the ANCA “Countdown to Erdogan” Campaign. In the 30 days leading up to the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan, the ANCA organized a new action each day – ranging from online advocacy, call-in days, social networking, coalition building, community outreach, and fieldwork. The campaign’s first week addressed the U.S. Senate, the second the U.S. House, followed by the media during the third week, and then, in the final seven days, a final push with the White House. Thousands participated in the unique month-long activism campaign.
H.Res.252, introduced on March 17th of this year by lead sponsors Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), currently has over 135 cosponsors. With the support of Senators Boxer and Lieberman, S.Res.316, spearheaded by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Ensign (R-NV), will have 10 cosponsors. Both bills are identical to legislation in the 110th Congress that was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and publicly endorsed by then-candidate for President Barack Obama, current Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Since the introduction of the current resolution this March, President Obama has broken his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, retreating markedly from repeated statements and promises he made throughout his service in the Senate calling for proper U.S. condemnation and commemoration of this crime against humanity.