October 19, 2019 - 13:58 AMT
Schiff, Bilirakis call for passage of Armenian Genocide res. again

Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), lead authors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296), ramped up efforts to secure passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296), arguing that Congressional silence of that crime undermines U.S. moral authority in confronting Turkey’s atrocities today, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We thank Congressmen Schiff and Bilirakis and join with them in rallying bipartisan backing for immediate passage of H.Res.296, permanently locking in official U.S. recognition and ongoing American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Across Capitol Hill and in Congressional districts across the country we are seeing growing urgency for the adoption of H.Res.296, amid the steady expansion of legislative support for this measure from across the political spectrum - hawks and doves, progressives and conservatives, coastal and heartland - even traditional allies of Ankara.”

In a “Dear Colleague” letter distributed throughout the U.S. House earlier today, Representatives Schiff and Bilirakis argued, “As we confront atrocities that are being committed in the present day, it weakens our standing and our moral clarity that the Congress has for too long been silent in declaring the events of 1915 as a genocide. As Turkish bombs fall on Kurdish cities, extremist groups backed by Turkey commit war crimes, and hundreds of thousands of civilians flee for their lives, it is surely not lost on Turkish leaders that for decades their campaign of lobbying and bullying has silenced the Congress from the simple act of speaking the truth about the events of 1915.”

Representatives Schiff and Bilirakis then called on their congressional colleagues to, “to join us to make clear that the United States will never be complicit in genocide denial, and that we will call out the atrocities of today and those of a century ago. As we confront continuing mass atrocities around the world, and as we work feverishly to restore calm and end the fighting in Northern Syria, Congress’s silence about the Armenian Genocide of a century ago undermines our moral standing. It must end.”

The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296), introduced in April, 2019, is a bi-partisan measure that locks in permanent U.S. recognition and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, ends U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial, and promotes public education regarding the crime as a genocide prevention tool. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have spearheaded the Senate version of the resolution (S.Res.150). Over 110 U.S. Representatives and more than 18 Senators are cosponsors of the measures.

The ANCA has launched a nationwide online campaign in support of the immediate passage of Armenian Genocide legislation and comprehensive sanctions against Turkey for their invasion of northern Syria. The ANCA has teamed up with the Hellenic American Leadership Council in support the “Countering Turkish Aggression Act of 2019”, spearheaded by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), that would "levy immediate, serious sanctions against Turkey following their invasion of northeastern Syria and their slaughter of the Kurdish people." In addition to a wide range of sanctions against Turkish President Erdogan and other senior officials, it also prohibits U.S. military assistance to Turkey and blocks President Erdogan and Turkish leadership from visiting the United States.