Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced legislation, Thursday, calling upon the United States President to work toward an Armenian-Turkish relationship based on Turkey’s truthful acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) have already joined in as original cosponsors of the human rights measure.
“The ANCA thanks Senators Menendez and Kirk for spearheading this forward-looking Armenian Genocide measure, calling on America to help forge an equitable and constructive Armenian-Turkish relationship based upon Turkey’s acknowledgement of this still unpunished crime,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “On the eve of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, we look forward to supporting the efforts of our Senate friends to pass this vital genocide prevention measure.”
In a statement issued upon introduction, Chairman Menendez noted, “The Armenian Genocide is a horrifying factual reality that can never be denied. This resolution reaffirms in the strongest terms that we will always remember this tragedy and honor the memory of innocent Armenian men, women and children who were killed and expelled from their homeland. The Armenian Genocide must be taught, recognized, and commemorated to prevent the re-occurrence of similar atrocities from ever happening again.”
Senator Kirk concurred noting, “Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turkey. There are only a few brave survivors left, such as 107-year-old Helen Paloian of Chicago, who lost her parents and two brothers. To honor the survivors and the memory of those lost, and to lead globally on human rights, the United States should finally join the European Union and 11 of our NATO allies in officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”
The resolution specifically expresses the sense of the Senate:
“(1) to remember and observe the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2014.”
“(2) that the President should work toward an equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relationship that includes the full acknowledgment by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the facts about the Armenian Genocide; and”
“(3) that the President should ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide.”
A parallel resolution (H.Res.227) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives spearheaded by Congressmen David Valadao (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) has over 50 cosponsors.
The full text of the resolution is provided below.
Text of the Armenian Genocide Resolution Introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
Whereas the Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed and 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland;
Whereas on May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers of England, France, and Russia jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing crimes “against humanity and civilization”;
Whereas Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide”, and whose draft resolution for a genocide convention treaty became the framework for the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations should prevent and punish through the setting of international standards;
Whereas Senate Concurrent Resolution 12, 64th Congress, agreed to February 9, 1916, resolved that “the President of the United States be respectfully asked to designate a day on which the citizens of this country may give expression to their sympathy by contributing funds now being raised for the relief of the Armenians”, who at the time were enduring “starvation, disease, and untold suffering”;
Whereas Senate Resolution 359, 66th Congress, agreed to May 11, 1920, stated that “the testimony adduced at the hearings conducted by the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered’;
Whereas House Joint Resolution 148, 94th Congress, agreed to on April 8, 1975, resolved, “That April 24, 1975, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man’, and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially those of Armenian ancestry …”;
Whereas House Joint Resolution 247, 98th Congress, agreed to September 10, 1984, resolved, “That April 24, 1985, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man’, and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry . . .’;
Whereas the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent Federal agency, unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would document the Armenian Genocide in the Museum, and has done so through a public examination of the historic record, including lectures and the maintenance of books, records, and photographs about the Genocide;
Whereas the Government of the Republic of Turkey has continued its international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, maintained a blockade of Armenia, and continues to pressure the small but growing Turkish civil society movement for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide;
Whereas, in April 2011, the month of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, the Government of the Republic of Turkey demolished a 100-foot-high statue in the city of Kars which was erected to promote reconciliation with Armenia;
Whereas the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Government of the Republic of Turkey has prevented the meaningful advancement of a constructive political, economic, and security relationship between Armenia and Turkey; and
Whereas the teaching, recognition, and commemoration of acts of genocide and other crimes against humanity is essential to preventing the re-occurrence of similar atrocities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate–
(1) to remember and observe the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2014.
(2) that the President should work toward an equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relationship that includes the full acknowledgment by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the facts about the Armenian Genocide; and
(3) that the President should ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide.