Rep. McGovern Urges Support for Syrian-Armenians


Rep, Jim McGovern

Massachusetts Legislator Calls for Strong U.S. Stand on Protecting Minorities and Providing Relief Aid to all Victims of Syria Conflict

WASHINGTON—Representative James McGovern (D-MA) has called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ensure that the United States acts with “increased vigilance in demanding that all parties in Syria protect minority populations, including Armenians and other Christian communities that have been caught in the cross-fire between opposing forces,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We very much appreciate Congressman McGovern’s leadership and constructive engagement with the Department of State in ensuring that American aid reaches all those in need in Syria, including Armenians, other Christians, and all victims of violence and depravation in and around the Aleppo region,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.  “We share his concern for the welfare of the innocent victims of this conflict, and join with him in calling upon the Administration to apply the full force of American diplomacy in impressing upon all parties in Syria that they must protect minorities and all at-risk populations.”

In a letter sent earlier today to Secretary Clinton, Representative McGovern, who serves as Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Congressional Human Rights Caucus, voiced his strong support for U.S. humanitarian efforts, including an ANCA-backed provision in the House Appropriations Committee’s version of the FY13 State-Foreign Operations Bill calling on the State Department to prioritize humanitarian and resettlement assistance for minority communities, including Armenians and other Christian populations in Syria.  Among the specific priorities Congressman McGovern raised in his letter were:

  • Ensuring that U.S. assistance reaches all at-risk populations, including Armenians, Christians, and others in and around the Aleppo area.
  • Encouraging the U.S. government to facilitate the timely delivery of aid to Syria provided by Armenian Americans and other Armenians world-wide.
  • Exploring with the Republic of Armenia assistance that can be provided to support and sustain the refugees who have fled Syria and sought refuge in Armenia.

Congressman McGovern also highlighted for Secretary Clinton the fact that “the Armenian community of Syria, particularly those in and around the Aleppo region, includes a great many descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the forced death marches through the Syrian desert.  These Armenians, along with other Christian and minority populations, are, today, increasingly the victims of violence – in the form of bombings, sniper attacks, murders, kidnapping, and acts of destruction and desecration of holy sites.  Only recently, the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial Church in Deir Zor, a site of pilgrimage for Armenians worldwide, was severely damaged as a result of shelling from unidentified assailants.”

The completel text of Congressman McGovern’s letter is provided below.

November 16, 2012
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

I am writing to express my grave concern about the urgent humanitarian crisis in Syria, and in particular, the situation confronting Armenians and other minorities in and around Aleppo.  With the situation deteriorating on daily basis, it is more urgent than ever for the United States, in cooperation with our international partners, to show leadership in ensuring the security and welfare of Syria’s at-risk Christians and other minorities.

As you are very much aware, the Armenian community of Syria, particularly those in and around the Aleppo region, includes a great many descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the forced death marches through the Syrian desert.  These Armenians, along with other Christian and minority populations, are, today, increasingly the victims of violence – in the form of bombings, sniper attacks, murders, kidnapping, and acts of destruction and desecration of holy sites.  Only recently, the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial Church in Deir Zor, a site of pilgrimage for Armenians worldwide, was severely damaged as a result of shelling from unidentified assailants.  In light of this situation, I want to encourage the Department of State to act with increased vigilance in demanding that all parties in Syria protect minority populations, including Armenians and other Christian communities that have been caught in the cross-fire between opposing forces.

I strongly support U.S. efforts to provide humanitarian aid and other assistance to those affected by the violent conflict taking place in Syria.  I am pleased that the House Appropriations Committee’s version of the FY13 State-Foreign Operations Bill includes a provision calling upon the State Department to prioritize humanitarian and resettlement assistance for minority communities, including Armenians and other Christian populations in Syria.  In this spirit, and consistent with our government’s longstanding defense of minority populations, I ask you to help ensure that U.S. assistance – including the recent $30 million in aid added to the already considerable U.S. assistance program to help those affected by the conflict in Syria – reaches all at-risk populations, including Armenians, Christians, and others in and around the Aleppo area.  I also support and encourage all your good efforts to ensure that our aid reaches the intended beneficiaries, a priority about which I know you are particularly sensitive.

Finally, I would also encourage the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development make every effort to help facilitate the timely delivery of aid to Syria provided by Armenian Americans and other Armenians world-wide, and to explore with the Republic of Armenia assistance that can be provided to support and sustain the refugees who have fled Syria and sought refuge in Armenia.

Please let me thank you in advance for your serious consideration of my concerns and attention to my requests. As always, I stand ready to assist you in any way that might be helpful in these endeavors.

Sincerely,
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress

4 Responses

for “Rep. McGovern Urges Support for Syrian-Armenians”

  1. Janine says:

    Thank you to Representative McGovern. Unfortunately our policies for many years seem to hit Christian minority communities the hardest all around the Middle East.

  2. the truth says:

    Fascist Azerbaijani President has declared once again Armenian Diaspora as ememy. Therfore for sure the racist regime in Baku and fascist groups in Ankara are paying and sending terrorists to kill Armenians in Syria!

  3. peter says:

    Syrian Armenians are much better than other Arab Armenians because they did not mix with Christian Arabs.That is a great blessing. You can thank Israel and Turkey for being behind this because they want to carve up Syria and break it up into little countries . Turkey has plans to invade and occupy northern Syria just as it occupied Northern Cyprus.

  4. fredoom says:

    Well. currenty US, Turkey and Germany are going to depoly weapons to protect paid terrorists and other crimila groups!

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