WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a long-time champion of Armenian issues and powerful voice for justice, along with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), who previously served as Co-Chair of the Armenian Caucus during his tenure in the House of Representatives (House), introduced a new Armenian Genocide resolution on Thursday.
The Senate action comes as House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) last week introduced H.R.4347, the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act, which requires an annual report from the U.S. Department of State on the status of stolen, confiscated or unreturned Christian properties in territories controlled by Turkey. The Royce-Engel effort builds on the successful House passage of similar legislation in 2011.
“Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turkey. There are only a few brave survivors left, such as 107-year-old Helen Paloian of Chicago, who lost her parents and two brothers,” Senator Kirk said. “To honor the survivors and the memory of those lost, and to lead globally on human rights, the United States should finally join the European Union and 11 of our NATO allies in officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”
“The Armenian Genocide is a horrifying factual reality that can never be denied,” Chairman Menendez said. “This resolution reaffirms in the strongest terms that we will always remember this tragedy and honor the memory of innocent Armenian men, women and children who were killed and expelled from their homeland. The Armenian Genocide must be taught, recognized, and commemorated to prevent the re-occurrence of similar atrocities from ever happening again.”
The Armenian Genocide resolution expresses the sense of the Senate, “To remember and observe the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2014; That the President should work toward an equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relationship that includes the full acknowledgment by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the facts about the Armenian Genocide;” and “That the President should ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide.”