Saturday, February 06, 2010

Armenia: Armenian Genocide Resolution set to vote in U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee

PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Howard Berman, a leading Congressional supporter of human rights and a longstanding friend of the Armenian American community, has scheduled a vote of his panel on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.252, for Thursday, March 4, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We want to thank Chairman Berman for his vision and strength in taking this bold step to send the clear message to Turkey that the United States Congress will not be complicit in their immoral efforts to deny truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide,” said Ken Hachikian, Chairman of the ANCA, following his meeting yesterday in Washington, DC with the senior California legislator. “We look forward to working with the Chairman and all our friends on the Committee from both parties to facilitate passage of this critical piece of human rights legislation by both this panel and the full House of Representatives. Our grassroots activists are mobilized to help achieve the success of this effort.”

H.Res.252, introduced in March of 2009 by lead sponsors Adam Schiff and George Radanovich, and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-chairs Frank Pallone and Mark Kirk, currently has over 135 cosponsors. A parallel Senate measure, spearheaded by Senators Bob Menendez and John Ensign , has 13 cosponsors.

Hachikian also consulted with several other Representatives, most notably, Congressional Armenian Genocide Resolution author Adam Schiff , Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone , and senior House Foreign Affairs Committee Members Brad Sherman, and Ed Royce.

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The date of the onset of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Thereafter, the Ottoman military uprooted Armenians from their homes and forced them to march for hundreds of miles, depriving them of food and water, to the desert of what is now Syria.

To date, twenty countries and 44 U.S. states have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide, and most genocide scholars and historians accept this view. The Armenian Genocide has been also recognized by influential media including The New York Times, BBC, The Washington Post and The Associated Press.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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