ARF Statement on New York Life Issue

The Central Committee of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in the Western USA is closely following the lawsuit against New York Life Insurance Company–which has been initiated on behalf of the heirs of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The heirs have been unable to collect unpaid life insurance benefits from international insurance companies that operated in the Ottoman Empire–as a result of the Armenian Genocide and the resulting exile of the Armenian people.

According to a law passed by the California Senate last year–survivors of the Armenian Genocide have the right to bring legal claims against insurance companies in California courts for outstanding life insurance benefits stemming from the Armenian Genocide. In an effort to close the lawsuit–New York Life recently issued a press release in which it announced the financial compensation it is willing to pay the heirs.

The following assertions are made in response to this development:

1. The lawsuit against New York Life and the financial rewards to be made must not take into account personal interests or profits–and cannot be tied to overall restitution involving the Armenian Genocide. These reparations are included in the national deman’s of the Armenian people–which cannot be separated from the determination to liberate the occupied territories of the homeland or the general principles of the Armenian Cause.

2. In regards to this lawsuit–no one has the right to act as a community representative willing to bargain on behalf of the heirs of the victims of the Genocide or the rights of the Armenian people.

3. New York Life is obligated to publish the complete list of names of Armenian families who purchased life insurance in the Ottoman Empire–so that all heirs will have the opportunity to claim benefits. This should be done before New York Life reaches a settlement.

4. Any attempts at compromising the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide–crushing the dignity of the Armenian people–or obscuring the rights of the heirs due to personal interests will be unacceptable. It is not possible to resolve the issue in a quick and timely manner by misleading the heirs of the policy holders and the Armenian people.

5. We are calling on the Armenian people to follow this issue prudently and in a restrained manner. The Armenian Cause must unite us in making sure that no Armenian heir is left excluded from receiving rightful compensation.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee Western Region

April 23–2001

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