Montana’s Burns Becomes 40th Senate Supporter of Human Rights Measure

WASHINGTON–DC–Montana Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) agreed this week to cosponsor the Genocide Resolution–S.Res.164–bringing the number of US Senators supporting this human rights measure to forty–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"I am proud to join with 39 of my Senate colleagues in support of S.Res.164," said Senator Burns in a statement to the ANCA. "This legislation stresses the importance of remembering and learning the lessons of past crimes against humanity–including the Armenian Genocide–the Holocaust–and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides–in an effort to stop future atrocities. Silence in the face of genocide only encourages those who would commit such atrocities in the future–a legacy which we cannot afford to pass on to our children."

"Armenian Americans–in Montana and across the United States–join in thanking Senator Burns for his principled stand in defense of the fundamental right of all people to live free from the terrors of genocide," said ANCA-Western Region Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian–who traveled to Montana in late July to meet with members of the state’s Congressional delegation–along with local community activist Yedvart Tchakerian. "We have been very encouraged–in recent months–by the increasing effectiveness of our grassroots outreach in the Northern Plain states–with Senators from Montana and both North and South Dakota supporting the Genocide Resolution–and the governors of Idaho–Nebraska–and Montana issuing proclamations commemorating the Armenian Genocide."

The Genocide Resolution marks the 15th anniversary of the US implementation of the Genocide Convention and reaffirms the commitment of the American people to this landmark treaty. It specifically cites the importance of applying the lessons of past genocides in order to make the world safe from future genocides. Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) introduced this measure in June of last year. Its companion measure in the US House–H.Res.193–led by Representatives George Radanovich (R-CA)–Adam Schiff (D-CA)–and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)–was adopted unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee last May and currently has 111 cosponsors. On July 15th–the US House passed an amendment–authored by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA)–which prohibited the government of Turkey from using US foreign aid dollars to lobby against the Genocide Resolution.

Support for the Genocide Resolution has been widespread outside of Congress as well–with a diverse coalition of over 100 ethnic–religious–civil and human rights organizations calling for its passage–including American Values–National Organization of Women–Sons of Italy–NAACP–Union of Orthodox Rabbis–and the National Council of La Raza. For information about Senator Burns–who serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee–visit: www.burns.senate.gov

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