12/12/2019 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – On its fourth try over the last several weeks, the U.S. Senate today passed an Armenian Genocide resolution

formally recognizing that, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire began a campaign of genocide against Armenians.  By 1923, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed and over a half a million survivors were exiled.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a cosponsor of the resolution this Congress and a longstanding cosponsor of similar resolutions in past congresses, issued the following statement:

“This official recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s role is long overdue and puts us on the right side of history.  I am pleased we were able to overcome objections from those who seek to obscure the facts.  The United States should not be a party to the denial of genocide.

“To prevent future acts of genocide, we must recognize past atrocities, educate the public, and uphold human rights.  Passing this resolution aligns us with other NATO member nations such as Canada, France, and Germany that have already recognized the Armenian Genocide.

“Today, we solemnly honor the victims and survivors of the Armenian genocide and reaffirm our commitment to human rights.

The resolution had been blocked three times at the request of the Trump Administration, but today won unanimous approval by the full U.S. Senate. 

On October 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an identical measure by a vote of 405-11.

The Senate resolution was sponsored by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and original cosponsors include Senators: Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Text of the resolution follows:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that it is the policy of the United States to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 9, 2019

RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the Senate that it is the policy of the United States to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance.

Whereas the United States has a proud history of recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, the killing of an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians;

Whereas the Honorable Henry Morgenthau, Sr., United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries against what he described as “a campaign of race extermination,” and, on July 16, 1915, was instructed by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the “Department approves your procedure … to stop Armenian persecution”;

Whereas President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the formation of Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which raised approximately $116,000,000 (more than $2,500,000,000 in 2019 dollars) between 1915 and 1930, and the Senate adopted resolutions condemning the massacres;

Whereas Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide” in 1944 and who was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century;

Whereas, as displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”, setting the stage for the Holocaust;

Whereas the United States has officially recognized the Armenian Genocide—

(1) through the May 28, 1951, written statement of the United States Government to the International Court of Justice regarding the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and Proclamation No. 4838 issued by President Ronald Reagan on April 22, 1981; and

(2) by House Joint Resolution 148, 94th Congress, agreed to April 8, 1975, and House Joint Resolution 247, 98th Congress, agreed to September 10, 1984; and

Whereas the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–441) establishes that the prevention of atrocities is a national interest of the United States and affirms that it is the policy of the United States to pursue a United States Government-wide strategy to identify, prevent, and respond to the risk of atrocities by “strengthening diplomatic response and the effective use of foreign assistance to support appropriate transitional justice measures, including criminal accountability, for past atrocities”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that it is the policy of the United States—

(1) to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance;

(2) to reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and

(3) to encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the role of the United States in humanitarian relief efforts, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.