Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) – the two U.S. Representatives of Armenian heritage – have called for a vote on the Armenian Genocide Truth + Justice Resolution, a bipartisan genocide-prevention measure they describe as “a principled and practical approach to fostering improved relations between Turkey and Armenia,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
In a letter to Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of this panel, Reps. Speier and Eshoo noted that they had recently traveled to Armenia as part of the U.S. Presidential Delegation for the April 24th Centennial. Stressing their unique role as “the only Members of the U.S. House of Representatives of Armenian heritage, descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” they called on the Committee leadership to hold a hearing and vote in the Foreign Affairs Committee on H.Res.154, the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution before the August District work period.
H.Res.154, a bipartisan measure spearheaded by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Robert Dold (R-IL), Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA), and Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), has over 60 cosponsors. It builds upon the substantial record of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide by calling upon the President work toward improved Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgement of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime.
Dear Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel,
Earlier this spring on Capitol Hill we came together as colleagues to honor the women and men who died during the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. In April, several of us traveled to Armenia as part of an official presidential delegation to participate in the 100th anniversary memorial events. We were honored to be part of this historic delegation, but remain disappointed Congress has not to this date recognized the Armenian Genocide, which President Obama recently called “the first mass atrocity of the 20th century.”
As the only Members of the U.S. House of Representatives of Armenian heritage, descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, we ask you to hold a hearing and vote in the Foreign Affairs Committee on H.Res.154, the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution.
This bipartisan genocide-prevention measure represents a principled and practical approach to fostering improved relations between Turkey and Armenia, which remains a priority of U.S. foreign policy. The adoption of this resolution would send a clear and powerful signal to those committing atrocities against minorities today that the United States will never compromise our moral stand against genocide for reasons of political expediency.
The first subcommittee hearing on the Armenian Genocide was held by Rep. Chris Smith in 2000 and Chairman Howard Berman convened a hearing and vote in 2010. Former and current Members have at length during special order hours and other debates on the genocide. As of this year, twenty-eight countries and 43 states have recognized the genocide, including Canada, England, France, and Russia. During Sunday services in April, Pope Francis called the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians the “first genocide of the 20th century.” It is not the first time that the Pope has described the Armenian deaths as a genocide – Pope John Paul II did so in a written statement in 2001.
Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, we respectfully ask you to bring the resolution to the Committee for a vote before the August District work period. We stand ready to meet with you to discuss the matter further and explore avenues for the timely adoption of this resolution.