Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) called on their House colleagues on Monday to join them in launching the Armenian Genocide Resolution, bipartisan legislation aimed at establishing, 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) the importance of Armenian Genocide education in preventing modern-day atrocities, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The resolution’s authors are currently asking collecting original cosponsors for the legislation and are expected to introduce their measure on the House floor soon thereafter.
“We want to thank Congressman Schiff and Bilirakis for building bipartisan support for legislation pivoting from past U.S. recognitions toward a sustained U.S. policy of official Armenian Genocide commemoration,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “Beyond institutionalizing the ongoing recognition and regular remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, this measure would, very notably, formally reject – once and forever – any association of the U.S. government or the American people with the denial of this crime.”
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to U.S. Representatives by Congressmen Schiff and Bilirakis, they asked their House colleagues to “join us as a cosponsor of a resolution affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide, which recognizes and memorializes the historical fact of the Ottoman Empire’s genocidal campaign against the Armenian people, as well as the Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, and other religious minorities, from 1915 to 1923.” The letter acknowledges the life-saving U.S. humanitarian efforts during the Armenian Genocide, reminding colleagues that “Congress passed first of its kind legislation to establish the Near East Relief effort which provided millions of dollars in food and aid to survivors, including tens of thousands of orphans.”
Congressmen Schiff and Bilirakis took on Ankara’s anticipated opposition to an honest U.S. remembrance of the Armenian Genocide head-on, writing: “Let us be direct. Genocide recognition is opposed by a single entity: The government of Turkey. For decades, Turkey has deployed threats and an intense campaign of lobbying to intimidate the Congress from recognizing the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire.” They went on to argue that: “Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide is also a source of continued regional tension, undermining the foundations of a durable peace that would be in the best interests of the United States and our national security. Official recognition of the Armenian Genocide can help open a new chapter in United States foreign policy. It is time for the United States to take a stand for the truth, and against genocide denial.”