Assert US Leadership Role In Promoting Human Rights
ORANGE, Calif.—Representatives of Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) and the Armenian National Committee – Orange County (ANC OC) discussed Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and a broad range of community concerns during a meeting with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) at his district office yesterday. The meeting was led by ANCA-WR Chairwoman Aida Dimejian, ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Lerna Shirinian and ANCA-WR activist Sylvie Tertzakian.
“Congressman Royce’s support of the Armenian Genocide Resolution not only reflects his respect and concern for his constituents, but it is also a testament of his pursuit of justice,” stated Tertzakian.
As a long time advocate for human rights and a member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, Rep. Royce has been a leading cosponsor of Armenian Genocide legislation throughout his years in Congress. Serving as senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he has been committed to working with his colleagues in Congress to continue building support for H. Res. 252 and ensuring a victory in the full House.
Immediately following the passage of H. Res. 252 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Royce issued a statement reinforcing his support for the measure. “The United States has been a global leader in promoting human rights around the world,” he stated. “On the issue of the Armenian Genocide, however, we lag behind. History is a continuum. Yesterday impacts today, which impacts tomorrow. It’s much harder to get tomorrow right if we get yesterday wrong. The world’s strength to oppose killing today is made greater by accountability, for actions present, but also past. It’s weakened by denial of accountability of past acts. Not recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as such, weakens us.”
Rep. Royce has been a strong supporter of issues of concern to the Armenian American community throughout his nine terms in Congress. He has co-hosted the ANCA Armenian Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill during his tenure, which annually draws hundreds of Armenian Americans from across the country. The Congressman has persistently written the President of the United States urging him to use the term “genocide” when making his annual April 24th address and to help end the blockade of Armenia by Turkey. For his efforts, the Orange County ANC awarded Rep. Royce the prestigious “Freedom Award” in 2005.
“Congressman Royce has an unequivocal understanding of the issues of concern to the Armenian American community,” stated ANCA-WR Chairwoman Aida Dimejian. “We thank him for his active support on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. His support is exactly the kind of moral leadership we need to bring America back to the right side on this important human rights issue,” she added.
Rep. Royce represents the 40th Congressional District of California, covering cities throughout western and northern Orange County. In 1982, he was elected to the California State Senate where he began his fight for victims’ rights and has continued this fight in the Halls of Congress since his election in 1992. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, a member of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. From 1998 to 2004, Rep. Royce chaired the Africa Subcommittee. Hearings in 2004 included confronting war crimes in Africa, reflecting on the Rwandan genocide, the current genocide in Darfur, and peace prospects in Sudan, the Ivory Coast and the Congo. Rep. Royce has led several Congressional delegations to numerous African countries, including his most recent trip to observe the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.