Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and former presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced Armenian Genocide legislation on Tuesday, April 9 reaffirming proper U.S. recognition and remembrance of this crime and rejecting U.S. complicity in its denial, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Senators Menendez and Cruz were joined as sponsors by 14 Senate colleagues, including Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“We want to thank Senators Menendez and Cruz for taking aim directly at U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “Their bipartisan resolution would end – once and for all – a foreign gag-order that has, for nearly a century, compromised our nation’s independence and government’s credibility on issues of human rights, religious freedom, and atrocities prevention.”
“As we near the anniversary of Armenian Remembrance Day, one of the darkest events in human history, I am proud to lead this effort to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide on behalf of the U.S. Congress. The Armenian genocide is a historical fact and not up for debate,” said Senator Menendez. “Only by accurately recognizing this genocide of the past can we ever hope to move forward in a legitimate and effective manner to meet the challenge of preventing mass atrocities and genocide in the future. With this resolution, we honor the millions of victims of this genocide, remember how they died and pledge that history accurately remember their deaths.”
“We must never be silent in response to atrocities. Over one hundred years ago, the world was silent as the Armenian people suffered a horrific genocide, and today many are still unaware of it,” said Senator Cruz. “I am proud to join Sen. Menendez and my colleagues today in introducing this resolution. May the terrors of those events awaken in us the courage to always stand for freedom against evil.”
Earlier in the day, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern U.S. joined ANCA leaders, including Raffi Hamparian, Ani Tchaghlasian, and George Aghjayan, met with Senators Menendez and Cruz during a full day of Capitol Hill meetings and thanked them for their leadership in securing a principled U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide.
The measure, introduced as Congress prepared for the annual Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Observance, is the companion to the Armenian Genocide Resolution introduced yesterday by House Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), which had over 75 original cosponsors.
The Armenian Genocide Resolution notes that the U.S. has, as early as 1951, officially recognized the Armenian Genocide through a filing with the International Court of Justice, followed by House legislation adopted in 1975, and 1984 and President Ronald Reagan’s Proclamation in 1984.
Armenians commemorate the mass killings on April 24 because on that date in 1915 a group of Armenian intellectuals was rounded up and assassinated in Constantinople by the Ottoman government. On April 24, Armenians worldwide will be commemorating the 104th anniversary of the Genocide which continued until 1923. Some three dozen countries, hundreds of local government bodies and international organizations have so far recognized the killings of 1.5 million Armenians as Genocide. Turkey denies to this day.