WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed the introduction today of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the U.S. Senate by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and John Ensign (R-NV).
The measure is similar to legislation in the U.S. House, H.Res.252, introduced earlier this year by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). This measure already has over 130 cosponsors.
In introducing the measure, Sen. Menendez noted, “Only when history’s darkest hours are acknowledged and understood can we truly learn from them and build a peaceful future upon those lessons. One and a half million Armenians experienced Hell on Earth, and to sweep their plight under the rug is to insult their memories and their descendants. It is long past time that our nation help set the historical record straight and provide a foundation of understanding that helps prevent future atrocities.”
Senator Ensign explained, “It is inconceivable that after so many years the international community has yet to affirm that the deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre and starvation of the Armenian people was genocide. By joining together and affirming that genocide was committed on the Armenian people, we send a strong message to the international community that we will not turn a blind eye to the crimes of the past simply because they are in the past.”
“On behalf of all Armenian Americans, we thank Senators Menendez and Ensign for their tireless leadership in moving America toward a full and proper commemoration and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “This legislation, in seeking to end U.S. silence in the face of Turkey’s denial of this crime, not only honors the past, but also, very powerfully, helps make Armenia and all the world safer from future genocides.”
Earlier this month, Senator Menendez had spoken out about the importance of international affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, and condemned provisions in the Turkey-Armenia protocols, which would create a historical commission as “frankly absurd” and an “insult to the Armenian people.” He went on to note, “It is time that Turkey recognizes it [the Armenian Genocide] and accepts it. It is time that the world acknowledges this fact of history and moves on towards a viable peace that honors the true history of the Armenian people.” His complete remarks, delivered at an event supporting the efforts of the ANCA Eastern Region can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g7gQBeWuY8
The resolution introduced today 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.” The resolution includes extensive findings from past U.S. hearings, resolutions and Presidential statements on the Armenian Genocide from 1916 through the present, as well as references to statements by international bodies and organizations.