WASHINGTON, DC — Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsor Robert Dold (R-IL) was joined by fellow House Republican freshmen Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in calling on their colleagues to cosponsor this key human rights measure, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
In a letter sent to first-term House Republicans earlier today, the Reps. Dold, Denham and Gardner explained, “As new members of the 112th Congress, we were elected here to not only get our country back on track, but to change the status quo. The failure of the United States Government to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide is a shame. It is time for the United States government to officially join with the voices of our constituents and those across the world, to stand against the continual denial of the Armenian Genocide.”
“We would like to thank Representatives Dold, Denham and Gardner for taking the lead and calling on their freshman colleagues to stand up to Turkey’s gag rule on America’s proper affirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “U.S. complicity in Turkey’s Genocide denial must end once and for all.”
Spearheaded by Representatives Dold and Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.304) has over 80 cosponsors. The legislation calls on the President to properly characterize the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 as genocide and for U.S. foreign policy to appropriately reflect the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution of this crime. As Senator, President Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian Genocide – a pledge he has yet to fulfill.
The complete text of the “dear colleague” letter is provided below.
GOP Freshmen: Cosponsor the Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution
Ninety-six years ago, the government of the Ottoman Empire, launched what is almost universally considered the first genocide of the Twentieth Century – the Armenian Genocide. By the time the atrocities ended in 1923, 1.5 million men, women and children had been killed – shot, beaten, starved, raped and force-marched through searing deserts or over frigid mountains.
The evidence of the Genocide is overwhelming and well documented. American newspapers have chronicled the Genocide in great detail. American diplomats transmitted a flood of cables and other reports detailing the slaughter of Armenians. Our very own National Archives houses thousands of cables, reports, eyewitness testimony, photographs and other evidence of a deliberate campaign of extermination. In 1919, Congress passed legislation to aid the victims of this atrocity and ordinary Americans contributed money to aid the survivors.
However, despite the unwavering evidence of this horrific event, the United States has still yet to officially recognize the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide. For the past 90 years, the Armenian people have sought justice for the atrocious act committed against them by the Ottoman Empire. In response, the Turkish government has maintained a decades-long policy of actively obstructing any attempt by the American government or other nations to recognize what happened to the Armenian people for what it was: genocide. Nevertheless, forty-two U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide, as have eleven of our NATO allies.
As new members of the 112th Congress, we were elected here to not only get our country back on track, but to change the status quo. The failure of the United States Government to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide is a shame. It is time for the United States government to officially join with the voices of our constituents and those across the world, to stand against the continual denial of the Armenian Genocide. We must change the current course and stand up for those who had their lives unjustly taken from them over eighty years ago. We cannot continue to turn our back.
We can help bring closure to this longstanding moral issue that continues to impact U.S. interests. An honest recognition of the Armenian Genocide continues to serve as a pretext for underlying tension in the region, and continues to undermine foundations for durable peace and security. We can help open a new chapter by ensuring that the United States officially recognizes the truth about the Armenian Genocide. By speaking now, we can put an end to the continuous efforts by Turkey to continuously deny acknowledgement of one of history’s greatest crimes. If we continue to delay or keep silent, the memories of the victims of the Armenian Genocide will be allowed to drift into the past.
We encourage you to join us in cosponsoring H. Res. 304, the Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Introduced by Rep. Dold, this legislation currently has over 80 cosponsors. If you would like to be added as a cosponsor, please contact Chris Del Beccaro (Chris.DelBeccaro@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Denham’s Office, or David Stern (David.Stern@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Dold’s office.