October 28, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel. (202) 775-1918

U.S. House of Representatives to Cast Landmark Vote Overriding Turkey’s Veto on U.S. Recognition of Armenian Genocide

Bipartisan Measure (H.Res.296) Gains Momentum Following Turkey’s Invasion of Northern Syria

WASHINGTON, DC – For the first time in more than 30 years, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to hold an up-or-down vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296) on Tuesday, October 29th. The bipartisan measure — strongly supported by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) — would lock in U.S. acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and strike a powerful blow against the gag-rule that Turkey has long enforced against honest American remembrance of this crime.

According to ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian,“This vote sends a clear message to Erdogan that America will no longer turn a blind eye to Ankara’s atrocities. This is especially timely today, as Turkey commits new crimes against our Kurdish allies and at-risk Christian and Yezidi civilians across northern Syria.”

The Armenian Genocide was part of a systematic WWI-era campaign by Ottoman Turkey that, killed over 2.5 million Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites and other Christians, between 1915 and 1923, exiling these nations from their Biblical-era homelands. This measure (H.Res.296) would establish, as a matter of U.S. policy, 1) the rejection of Armenian Genocide denial, 2) ongoing official U.S. government recognition and remembrance of this crime, and 3) support for education about the Armenian Genocide in order to help prevent modern-day atrocities.

“H.Res.296 represents a firewall against foreign interference. Its passage will help wall off U.S. human rights policy from outside influence by human rights abusing countries. No nation deserves a gag-rule on U.S. genocide policy. It’s clearly time to end the longest-lasting foreign veto in American history,” stated the ANCA’s Hamparian.

Led by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Florida Republican Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) – the Armenian Genocide Resolution has been gaining momentum in the past week, particularly following Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. The measure currently has 130 co-sponsors, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-MA), and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Devin Nunes (R-CA).

A similar version in the Senate (S.Res.150) – led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) – has 18 co-sponsors and continues to attract growing support.

The U.S. House will also vote on H.R.4695, the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act, that would impose harsh sanctions on Turkey over its recent invasion of northern Syria. The Armenian National Committee of America strongly supports passage of that measure as well.

The leadership of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) welcomed the pending vote. “Too many Americans are unaware of the first genocide of the 20th century, as well as the massive humanitarian response led by the United States which saved countless lives. At a time when Turkey has launched a campaign into Northern Syria, which has killed hundreds and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, it is all the more important that the House speak clearly and directly about crimes against humanity, whether they occurred a century ago or in the present day. All Members of the House can go on record to state clearly the historic fact of the genocide, joining 49 U.S. states and many of our closest allies that have already taken this important step.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who is one of three Armenian Americans in Congress, along with Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), told Congressional colleagues of her own family’s loss during the Genocide. “Members of my own family were among those murdered. My mother escaped with my grandmother from Armenia, and my father, an Assyrian Christian, was driven from the Middle East. Both carried the terror of the atrocities of the Ottoman Turks for a lifetime,” said Rep. Eshoo.

The ANCA, over the course of many decades, has pushed back against Turkey’s heavy-handed denial, striving to put America on the right side of the Armenian Genocide. During the current session of Congress, the ANCA worked closely with House and Senate leaders to secure votes on H.Res.296 and S.Res.150 since they were introduced in April, 2019. Thousands of letters and phone calls have already been sent to Congress by Armenian American advocates through the ANCA online portal – anca.org/genocide.

To learn more, visit: www.anca.org/endthegagrule.

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Editor’s Notes:

Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian is available for comment and interviews. Please contact Elizabeth@anca.org or call 202-775-1918.

For complete text of H.Res.296 and a current list of cosponsors, visit: https://anca.org/assets/pdf/HRes296_Text.pdf

For the facts regarding the Armenian Genocide and H.Res.296, visit: https://anca.org/assets/pdf/Hres296_TheFacts.pdf

For a Myths and Facts primer on U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, visit: https://www.anca.org/MythsAndFacts

For 12 key points on the Armenian Genocide and a broader toolkit of resources, visit: https://www.anca.org/endthegagrule

About the Armenian Genocide:

The Armenian Genocide was the centrally planned and systematically executed slaughter of the Armenian people, carried out by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915-1923. The Greek and Assyrian / Chaldean / Syriac communities suffered the same fate, with over 2.5 million Christians killed in that time period. April 24th is the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The United States embarked on an unprecedented international humanitarian campaign, mandated by Congress in 1916 through the establishment of Near East Relief, saving over 130,000 orphans and some 1 million survivors of the Armenian Genocide by providing assistance valued at over $2.5 billion in current dollars. For more information about the U.S. humanitarian response, please visit: http://www.americawethankyou.org.

The U.S. first recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1951 through a filing which was included in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Report titled: “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report: “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”

President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide in 1981. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation on the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996. Forty-nine U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide through resolution or proclamation.

For more information about U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, visit: https://anca.org/armenian-genocide/recognition/united-states/

About the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA):

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. For more information, visit www.anca.org.

 

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