Community Comes Together in Support of H. Res. 252

WASHINGTON—On the eve of a scheduled hearing by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on H.Res 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, leading Armenian-American organizations came together to circulate to Congress urging the passage of the resolution.

Organizations signing the letter include: Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Bar Association, Armenian Catholic Eparchy in the USA, Armenian Council of America, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Relief Society, Armenian Rights Council of America, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America – East, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America – West, Knights of Vartan, Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – East, Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – West, and the World Armenian Congress.

Below is the text of the letter:

March 3, 2010

Dear Representative:

We are writing to share with you our support for the aims of H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution. This important measure, which was introduced by Congressman Adam Schiff along with colleagues, Congressmen George Radanovich, Frank Pallone, Jr. and Mark Kirk, accurately recites the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.

As you know, in the early part of the twentieth century, the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire became the target of heightened persecution by the Ottoman Turks. During 1915 to 1923, Armenians were systematically uprooted from their homeland of over 2,500 years, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians, of whom 1.5 million men, women, and children were massacred and 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes.

The U.S. response to the Armenian Genocide was significant and sustained. The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, the United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests against the Armenian Genocide. In addition, President Woodrow Wilson encouraged, and Congress chartered, the formation of the Near East Relief organization to aid the survivors of the Armenian Genocide. This organization contributed some $116 million from 1915 to 1930 to aid the genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.

The adoption of H.Res. 252, scheduled for mark-up by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 4th under the leadership of Committee Chairman and original cosponsor, Representative Howard Berman, will not only continue America’s commitment to the people of Armenia, but will also send a strong message that genocide and ethnic cleansing must not go unchecked. It was the lack of international intervention to halt the genocide of the Armenian people that led Adolph Hitler to state: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” when planning his invasion of Poland in 1939.  In order to prevent future crimes against humanity, we must not forget the tragic events of 1915 to 1923 and America’s response.

H. Res. 252 represents a comprehensive congressional effort to affirm the first genocide of the twentieth century and we urge its adoption by the full House of Representatives. Your support for this bipartisan resolution on the eve of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will represent a fitting tribute to the one and one-half million Armenians who were killed in this crime against all humanity.

Sincerely,
[The aforementioned organizations]

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