BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
GLENDALE-Representatives George Radanovich (R-Calif.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) today praised Armenian National Committee of America activists on their tireless efforts on behalf of the Armenian American community in ensuring passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution through the House of Representatives International Relations Committee.
The House International Relations Committee–in a vote of 24 to 11–Tuesday approved a measure–which–if passed by the entire House of Representatives–would recognize the 1915-1921 systematic killing of Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turkish government–as a genocide.
The committee voted after an almost three-hour debate on the matter–the discussion of which was postponed from last Thursday due to delay tactics by Indiana Republican Dan Burton and California Democrat Tom Lantos.
Radanovich and Sherman–who bravely led the fight in the International Relations Committee on behalf of H.Res.596–worked vigorously in moving this important legislation forward–by convincing colleagues from both sides of the aisle to take a moral stand on this issue and vote to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In the process–ANC activists and members of coalition organizations from all over the country mobilized in a concerted effort to make certain that H.Res.596 is passed through the International Relations Committee and sent to the floor of the House for consideration. Local chapters of the ANCA–with the help of community activists and members–contacted almost all Congressional Members serving on the Committee. During the days preceding the vote–constituents in Committee members’ districts were contacted and urged to become engaged in ongoing conversations with the representatives’ staffs–to ensure that the level of awareness on the Resolution remained at its peak–and victory would be ensured.
"The passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution by the House International Relations Committee is a major victory for the Armenian-American community–including the Armenian National Committee and its grassroots network–which was at the forefront of this effort," Sherman’said. "We need to work together to ensure that the resolution receives consideration on the House floor as soon as possible," concluded the representative.
Rep. Radanovich–who authored the Armenian Genocide Resolution–said–"The vote in the International Relations Committee was both historic and significant. I was honored to be the author of the Armenian Genocide legislation. The ANC launched a nationwide grassroots campaign to help pass this bill and together with other Armenian leaders and organizations we have been successful. I will continue to fight in Congress to see that this bill passes the entire House. My pledge is to bring to light the truth: a genocide was committed by the Ottoman Turkish government and the US government needs to acknowledge this fact."
Tuesday’s vote cleared the way for the resolution to be heard by the House Rules Committee. At press-time there was no date of that hearing.
The Armenian Genocide Resolution is actively supported by a coalition of Armenian American organizations including the Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics; Armenian Assembly of America; Armenian Bar Association; Armenian Evangelical World Council; Armenian General Benevolent Union; Armenian Missionary Association of America; Armenian National Committee of America; Armenian Relief Society of North America; Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – East; Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic 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.