Over 100 Members of Congress back passage of Genocide Prevention measure

In the wake of the Armenian Genocide epic “The Promise,” on the eve of the national release of “Architects of Denial,” after a long summer of Congressional district meetings, and amid a renewed drive by Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Trott (R-MI) and their Armenian Caucus colleagues, the number of U.S. House cosponsors on H.Res.220 cleared one hundred this week, signaling growing support for passage of this bipartisan measure leveraging the lessons of the Armenian Genocide to prevent future atrocities across the Middle East and around the world, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We are gratified to see the growing bipartisan backing for the adoption of H.Res.220 and are encouraged that each of the top U.S. House leaders, from both sides of the aisle, have records of supporting honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide – from Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy to Democratic Leader Pelosi and Democratic Whip Hoyer, as well, of course, Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We look forward to supporting the ongoing efforts H.Res.220’s authors and cosponsors to secure its adoption by the full U.S. House.”

“The Promise” and “Architects of Denial”’ – their Washington, DC premieres and the work of filmmakers to impact U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide – have played a key role in challenging U.S. complicity in Ankara’s ongoing denial of the Ottoman Turkish government’s mass murder of over 2.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrian/Chaldeans from 1915-1923. In March, “The Promise” director and producer Terry George and Eric Esrailian, respectively, joined the ANCA in meetings with key House leaders. Just last week, “Architects of Denial” Executive Producers Dean Cain and Montel Williams wrapped up a series of meetings with legislators in the run up to the October 6th release of their documentary. These films, in addition to Joe Berlinger’s “Intent to Destroy”, Shant Mardirossian and George Billard’s “They Shall Not Perish”, and Micah Smith’s ‘Faithkeepers”, all released in the past year, have drawn unprecedented attention to the Armenian Genocide and its consequences.

This growing spotlight on Turkey’s genocidal history and the ongoing aggression against Armenia and Artsakh by both Azerbaijan and Turkey have resonated with lawmakers, as seen during over 200 district meetings held by ANCA Western Region and Eastern Region local advocates this past summer, urging support for a myriad of Armenian American community concerns, including passage of H.Res.220 and the Senate Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.136.

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Dave Trott (R-MI) have been vocal in rallying support for the human rights measure. Rep. Speier recently led an educational and cultural trip to Armenia, coordinated through the Embassy of Armenia, joined by Armenian Caucus founder and Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Co-Chair David Valadao, and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Representatives Gabbard, Pallone and Valadao also traveled to the Republic of Artsakh.

U.S. Representatives David Trott (R-MI) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are the lead authors of H.Res.220. This genocide prevention measure stresses that “proper commemoration and consistent condemnation of the Armenian Genocide will strengthen our international standing in preventing modern-day genocides,” and, building upon the 2016 official U.S. designation of an ISIS genocide against Middle East minorities, specifically calls for the following: “[T]he United States, in seeking to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against Christians, Yezidis, Muslims, Kurds, and other vulnerable religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East, should draw upon relevant lessons of the United States Government, civil society, and humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide, Seyfo, and the broader genocidal campaign by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Greeks, Pontians and other Christians upon their biblical era homelands.”

The Senate, Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.136, was introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) with the bipartisan support of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Tom Udall (D-NM) earlier this year on April 24th, the international day of commemoration of the Ottoman Turkish Government’s murder of over 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923. The resolution calls on the President to “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.” It goes on to urge 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.”

Other cosponsors of the measure include Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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