WASHINGTON, DC — H. Res 296, a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide passed today, with a vote of (405 to 11 with 3 present ) on Tuesday.
This is the fourth time such a resolution was introduced to Congress since 2000, but the first time it received a House vote. The previous three times the various resolutions were pulled due to pressure from the executive branch.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who introduced the resolution with the support of dozens of cosponsors, said this moment was long overdue.
“We cannot pick and choose which crimes against humanity are convenient to speak about,” Congressman Schiff said. “We cannot cloak our support for human rights in euphemisms. We cannot be cowed into silence by a foreign power.”
“What we can do, what we must do, Mr. Speaker, is state the facts.” CongressmanSchiff continued. “We can say that the Ottoman Empire committed this grotesque crime against the Armenians, but their campaign of extermination failed; and that, above all, we will never forget and we will never again be intimidated into silence.”
The resolution includes language that ensures the United States “commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance,” and reject attempts to “engage, or otherwise associate” the U.S. Government with genocide denial.
The authors of the resolution also saw it important to support public understanding of the genocide, as well as the role the United States played in the humanitarian relief effort for the Armenians.
”On this historic day, we applaud the courage and unwavering leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives who stood up to the Turkish lobby and acknowledged a tragic chapter in world history,” said Sevak Khatchadorian, Chairman of the Armenian Council of America. “This Resolution not only formally recognizes the Armenian Genocide, but it solidifies the reputation of the U.S. as a nation that upholds a high standard of human rights,” he added.