WASHINGTON—Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, on Monday, outlining U.S. commitment to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.
“President Obama undermined his own commitment to ‘Never Again’ in his speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum this morning, when, on the day before the annual commemoration marking the Armenian Genocide – the atrocities that Hitler himself referenced prior to launching the Holocaust – he cited several past genocides but remained entirely silent on the Armenian Genocide, the crime that, as a candidate for the White House, he so prominently and repeatedly promised to recognize,” stated Hamparian.
“President Obama has the chance, on April 24th, to give real meaning to his words about genocide prevention by rejecting Ankara’s gag-rule and honoring his pledge to properly condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide,” concluded Hamparian.
As Senator and presidential candidate, President Obama consistently and repeatedly urged former President Bush to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide, and pledged, as President, to recognize that crime. In a January, 2008, statement, then Senator Obama clearly stated, “as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
President Obama’s April 23rd ‘Never Again’ speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum took place one day before Armenians and people of good conscience worldwide commemorate the murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish Government during the years 1915-1923. Forty-two U.S. states and over 20 countries have properly recognized the Armenian Genocide. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan acknowledged the crime as genocide in 1981. The U.S. House adopted Armenian Genocide legislation in 1975 and 1984 and included reference to the crime in House adopted amendments in 1996 and 2005. More recently, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed Armenian Genocide legislation in 2007 and 2010. The Republic of Turkey continues its international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, issuing economic and political threats against countries who properly characterize the crime. Those threats have largely been hollow, with economic trade data showing a marked increase in trade with Turkey after the Genocide has been recognized.