09/12 - Sen. Boxer sent a letter to Azerbaijani President Aliyev to protest the pardoning of axe-murderer Safarov and urged that he be reincarcerated.
05/15/12 - Kirk, Cardin, Rubio, Blumenthal and Boxer express concern about Azerbaijani human rights advocate Bakhtiyar Hajiyev and urged his release. Kirk lead the letter.
06/19/12 - Senator Boxer submitted a statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging Amb. Morningstar to confront Azerbaijani aggression:
Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be voting on the nomination of the Honorable Richard L. Morningstar to be Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
While I will support his nomination, I would like to briefly mention a number of important things that I hope to see Ambassador Morningstar make a priority during his tenure as Ambassador.
First, it is absolutely critical that Ambassador Morningstar use his position to respond to and counter the Government of Azerbaijan?s escalating acts of aggression and threats against Armenia and NagornoKarabakh. I am so pleased that in response to a question submitted for the record, Ambassador Morningstar pledged that ?if confirmed, I will make the case that irresponsible rhetoric is unacceptable and undermines our efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement of the conflict. I will urge the Azerbaijani government to show
restraint in its rhetoric and to prepare its people for peace, not war.?
Second, in the face of growing tensions, it is essential that Ambassador Morningstar urge the Azerbaijani government to comply with the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group 1994 ceasefire agreement and work toward a comprehensive solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis.
And finally, it is imperative that Ambassador Morningstar fulfill the commitment he made during his nomination hearing to do everything he can to travel to the Djulfa Armenian cemetery to investigate its appalling 2005 desecration by Azerbaijan.
I look forward to working with Ambassador Morningstar as he addresses these and many other challenges in the South Caucasus region, and thank him for his service to our country.
06/12 - Senator Boxer submitted a series of questions dealing with Azerbaijani aggression against Armenians in the days leading up to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the confirmation of Amb. Morningstar to be U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan.
04/24/12 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. President, I rise today to solemnly recognize the 97th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide based in part on the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian people between 1915 1923. Yet, in the 63 years that have passed since the Convention was adopted, successive U.S. administrations have refused to call the deliberate massacre of the Armenians by what it was--a genocide.
For many years, I have urged these administrations to right this terrible wrong, and I do so again today, calling on President Obama to acknowledge unequivocally--as he did as a Senator--that the Armenian genocide is a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.
The Armenian genocide--along with the Holocaust--is one the most studied cases of genocide in history. A number of sovereign nations, ranging from Argentina to France, as well as 43 U.S. States have recognized what happened as genocide. Yet, successive U.S. administrations continue only to refer to the Armenian genocide as annihilation, massacre or murder.
Every day that goes by without full acknowledgment by the United States of these undeniable facts prolongs the pain felt by descendants of the victims and the entire Armenian community.
There is no room for discretion when dealing with unspeakable crimes against humanity; genocide must be called genocide, murder must be called murder. And every day that goes by without the U.S. acknowledgment of what happened to the Armenian people in the early 20th century undermines the United States' role as a beacon for human rights around the world.
The United States' credibility is particularly important as we seek to compel international condemnation of and active response to those who are perpetrating extreme violence today--whether it be in individual cases of human rights abuses or in cases of government-driven attacks against citizens protesting for greater freedom and opportunity.
The United States cannot and does not turn a blind eye to atrocities around the globe. In fact, the United States is often the first to speak out in the face of violence and unspeakable suffering. But sadly, our Nation is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the Armenian genocide. It is long past time to do the right thing.
So this April 24, as we pause to remember the victims and to honor the countless contributions Armenian Americans have made to our great country, I hope that the U.S. will finally and firmly stand on the right side of history and officially condemn the crimes of 1915 1923 by their appropriate name--genocide.
09/11 - Senator Boxer votes against confirmation of Amb. Ricciardone to be Ambassador to Turkey, because of concerns over his understanding of the plight of Christians and churches in Turkey. Leading up to the vote, Senator Boxer asked numerous questions about Armenian American concerns over U.S. policy towards Turkey.
07/11 - Boxer and Menendez submitted questions to Amb. to Armenia nominee Heffern, ensuring scrutiny of U.S. policies towards Armenia.
04/14/11 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the 96th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide--a tragedy that has left a dark stain on the collective conscience of mankind.
What has made this tragedy even more painful--particularly for the Armenian people--is the failure of successive U.S. administrations to acknowledge the deliberate massacre of the Armenians by its rightful name--genocide.
So today, I also rise to reiterate my call to President Barack Obama to finally right this terrible wrong.
In 2008, then-Senator Obama said:
..... the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable.
I could not agree more. And every day that goes by without full acknowledgement of these undeniable facts by the United States prolongs the pain felt by descendants of the victims, as well as the entire Armenian community.
Countless experts have documented the atrocities that occurred between 1915 and 1923, when more than 1.5 million Armenians were marched to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East, murdered in concentration camps, drowned at sea, and forced to endure unimaginable acts of brutality at the hands of the Ottoman Empire--now modern-day Turkey.
Yet successive U.S. administrations continue only to refer to the genocide by such terms as ``annihilation,'' ``massacre,'' and ``murder.''
This is not only an affront to the memory of the victims and to their descendants, but it does a disservice to the United States as it seeks to stand up to those who are perpetrating violence today.
In a recent speech President Obama eloquently said:
Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.
The United States is not a nation that turns a blind eye to atrocities, and that is why it is so important that we finally acknowledge the Armenian genocide for what it was--genocide.
As I have said, genocide is only possible when people avert their eyes. Any effort to deal with genocide--in the past, present, or future, must begin with the truth.
So this April 24, as we pause to remember the victims and to honor the countless contributions Armenian Americans have made to our great country, I hope that the U.S. finally stands on the right side of history and calls the tragedy of 1915-1923 by its rightful name.
02/15/11 - Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the memory of Alice A. Peters, a philanthropist who, along with her late husband Leon S. Peters, generously supported many educational, cultural, and community causes in Fresno, CA. Mrs. Peters passed away on January 24. She was 97 years old.
Born Alice Apregan, Mrs. Peters was the daughter of Armenian immigrants who immigrated to Lynn, MA, in 1907 to escape the persecution of Ottoman Turks. In search of a better place to call home, the family moved in 1911 to the San Joaquin Valley of California where many people from their native Bitlis province of Armenia had settled. The Apregan family made their home in the farming community of Del Rey, and Alice attended high school in nearby Selma.
She met her future husband during a visit to Del Rey Packing. Their friendship blossomed into marriage in 1943. Leon Peters learned mechanical engineering on the job while working for Valley Foundry, became sales manager before purchasing the company in 1937. He and his brothers turned Valley Foundry into one of the region's most successful businesses. This success allowed the Peters to become stalwart supporters of community causes that have greatly benefited the people of Fresno and the Central Valley. Over the years, Leon and Alice Peters would become synonymous with philanthropy and charity in the Greater Fresno Area.
Since its establishment in 1959, the Leon S. Peters Foundation has given to many worthy causes and projects that continue to positively impact the lives of Fresno residents. Mrs. Peters and her late husband donated millions of dollars to local institutions such as the Community Regional Center, the Fresno Chafee Zoo, and the Fresno Art Museum and California State University, Fresno.
Mrs. Peters made sure that the vision of the Leon S. Peters Foundation endured after her husband's passing in 1983. In 2002, she donated $300,000 to the Community Medical Foundation, which made possible an Extern Work Study Program for nursing students at community medical centers. She summed up her commitment to philanthropy by saying ``charity work is part of life, we all have to do some of it ..... this is our legacy.''
A woman of great conviction and vision, Mrs. Peters leaves behind a legacy of philanthropy and community service and the admiration of those whose lives she touched over the years. She has made indelible contributions to make Fresno a better place. She will be missed.