Recognition of Armenian Genocide in USA
This document, filed by the Government of the United States with ICJ, is included in the May 28, 1951 ICJ Report titled: “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."
The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report:
|“||The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.||”|
Since that time numerous US states (38 states so far) and cities have independently recognized the Armenian Genocide. The State Department, however has an ongoing policy of not using the word genocide and opposing Congressional bills which mention the Armenian Genocide.
Genocide Commemorated During Capitol Hill Reception
Governor Kean and Professor Simpson receive ANC Freedom Awards for defense of academic integrity in Armenian Genocide scholarship
WATERTOWN, Mass.-Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) joined with over 30 members of Congress and some 300 Armenian-Americans from throughout the United States at an April 30 Capitol Hill observance marking the 82nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The three hour program, held in the historic Senate Caucus Room, was sponsored by Sen. Reed, Representatives David Bonior (D-Mich.), Joseph Knollenberg (R-Mich.), Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), George Radanovich and the Armenian National Committee.
The program opened with a moving invocation by Reverend Father Khoren Habeshian of Soorp Khatch Armenian Church. The master of ceremonies for the evening, Armenian National Committee of America Board member Bedros Bandazian, then formally opened the program by introducing ANC-Eastern United States Chairman Dikran Kaligian, who thanked the members of Congress who have supported us each time we’ve asked for their help to pursue the Genocide as a political issue, the different members of the diplomatic delegations and other individuals in academia who have supported us, including our two ANC Freedom Award winners, and finally each of you in the Armenian community who have made the Armenian Genocide a current issue. You have pursued it with your representatives in Congress, you have pursued it with the members of the media, and you have pursued it in academia - and because of that the Armenian Genocide is a live topic, it’s a very important topic and it is very gratifying to see all of you here to remind the world that the Armenian Genocide cannot be forgotten and justice must be gained for it if there is to be justice in this world.
Bipartisan Group of Legislators Emphasize Importance of Genocide Commemoration
Among the Senators and Representatives who offered their words of remembrance and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide were senators Jack Reed, Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and James Jeffords (R-Vt.) and Representatives William Delahunt (D-Mass.), Jon Fox (R-Penn.), Sue Kelly (R-NY), Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), Joseph Knollenberg, James McGovern (D-Mass.), Connie Morella (R-Md.), Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Frank Pallone, Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), Robert Weygand (D-RI). Many other members attended the program but did not offer formal remarks.
"Parev Paregamner (hello friends), we are here to commemorate and remember the sufferings of the Armenian people," began the evening’s co-host Senator Jack Reed. In his remarks, he relayed the story of Armenian Genocide Survivor Noyemzar Alexanian who had traveled from Rhode Island to attend the event. "Mrs. Alexanian was only six years old when her village was surrounded by Kurdish cavalry. She lost her father, her mother, her two sisters and her home before she emigrated to Cuba and then to the United States. Her husband, Krikor, is also a refugee from Armenia... It is painful to note what took place then, but it is noble and glorifying to note that despite those horrors the Armenian people could not be broken," explained Senator Reed. Among the other Armenian Genocide Survivors at the Capitol Hill Observance were Ashkhen Shamigian and Berjouhie Shamigian from Maryland and Asdghig Alemian from Massachusetts.
During his remarks, long time supporter of Armenian-American Issues, Rep. Joe Kennedy, noted "If you look at what has happened in the Congress and, even to be perfectly frank, why this Genocide resolution hasn’t passed since I’ve been in the Congress of the United States, it has been because of the continued influence of an Ottoman regime of a bygone era, and ladies and gentlemen, it is time to put history in its proper perspective. Rep. Kennedy emphasized the importance of the Armenian-American community’s continued vigilance in obtaining the proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide. -Understand that it is your individual actions, by coming here to Washington, DC, by coming from places as far away as California and New Jersey and, yes, Watertown Mass., to come here to Washington to make sure that no one ever forgets the fact that the Genocide took place, the fact that there are causes that we need to stand up for not because of the almighty power of the dollar but because it is simply the right thing to do."
"I continue to shake my head in disbelief that we still, as a government, do not officially recognize that tragedy that took place years ago," stated Massachusetts Democrat James McGovern. "I’m a freshman member of Congress and I’m here to tell you that I will join with others here- Senator Reed; my colleague, Congressman Weygand; and others-to try to correct that tragedy and to pass a bill in this Congress to officially recognize the Genocide."
"America has a special responsibility to pay more attention to the Genocide because this is a country of immigrants," explained Rep. Knollenberg. "We came to America to make things better by the sweat of our brow. The Armenians that came to America came because they were forced. They had to go. But thank God they came to America because they made our communities better. I know they’ve contributed so much to my community."
Pennsylvania Republican Jon Fox discussed the importance of having such an observance on Capitol Hill. "We’re meeting tonight to make sure genocide never happens again. We must remain vigilant. We must work together." Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.) restated her long-standing support for the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. "We’re with you. We’re behind you. It is a genocide that we should always remember because it reminds us of the importance of human rights throughout the world. If people have blinders on and are myopic, this can happen. It is a symbol to all of us so that it does not happen again."
New Jersey freshman Congressman Steve Rothman explained "I am delighted to be a person you can count on to speak the truth and remind the world of this terrible, terrible tragedy and I offer my services to this community to do whatever I can to continue to help in that regard." Rep. Rothman went on to note that as a member of House International Relations Committee "I have offered some thoughts and some amendments to some programs to emphasize the need for justice with regard to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and how its neighbors are treating those very important areas of interest to me."
"The Armenian National Committee always keeps me up to date," explained New York Congresswoman Sue Kelly. "When I call and have a question or ask for help in understanding an issue, the Armenian National Committee is always there, willing and able to help. I applaud all of you." Rep. Peter Visclosky echoed these remarks and added "I come here to thank you for your untiring effort and dedication to human rights, not only for the Armenian people, but for all people who have been oppressed through the centuries and who are oppressed today. It is a privilege to represent you in the United States Congress and to continue to work on issues important to all of us."
ANC Freedom Award Given to Former NJ Governor Tom Kean and Prof. Christopher Simpson
President of Drew University and former governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean was the first of two ANC Freedom Awards recipients. Kean, a vocal advocate against so-called scholars who continue to deny the Armenian Genocide, last week coordinated a Drew University Conference entitled "The Armenian Genocide: ‘Controversy and Academic Responsibility.’" On accepting the award, Kean stated "The first time we had such a memorial-when I was governor-I got letters of complaint, an official protest from the Turkish Embassy, and a call from our own State Department saying you really should not do that, which made me resolve to do it every year, which I then did. It is a crime-or should be-to deny history, to claim that historic events did not occur, to destroy evidence-which has been done in the case of the Genocide-and to pretend that an event of this importance did not happen."
Kean went on to explain, "We have had, in the last 15 years, a genocide in Asia, a genocide in Africa, attempted Genocide in Europe. If we do not understand that fellow human beings can act this way then we will never be able to prevent it in the future. It will occur to somebody else, and what happened to the Armenian people should never happen again happen to any people. And so it is important that we study it, that we understand it. It is important that all the world understands that it happened, understands why it happened, why it was perpetrated, the tragedy of the people against whom it was perpetrated. That is why, as a university president or in any other way that I can, I will try to discover the facts, to learn more about this genocide and to make sure that we know enough about it to prevent it."
The second ANC Freedom Award recipient was American University Professor and Armenian Genocide researcher Christopher Simpson. Prof. Simpson is the author of the award-winning book "The Splendid Blond Beast," which demonstrated how the international failure to address the Armenian Genocide set key legal precedents that have obstructed international responses to other crimes against humanity. In his remarks, Simpson explained "we see the failure of the international community to address the Armenian Genocide driven, in part, by greed, frankly, and particularly by a desire for oil wealth, leading to laying the basis for the non-response to the Holocaust in the next generation."
Simpson added, "non-Armenian Americans have a lot to learn from Armenians in terms of its success in organizing, in speaking to Congress, and in getting their message across; and also in standing up to an organized campaign of revisionism, of organized forgetting, of organized distortion of what took place during World War I that is being bankrolled by the Turkish government, at least in part with the cooperation of multinational companies that do business in Turkey... it is an important example to other communities who are facing some of the same types of problems from other parts of the world."
California Assembly Passes Genocide Reoslution SACRAMENTO-The California State Assembly, upon the approval of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 51, officially designated April 24 as “California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923,” reported the Armenian National Committee-Western Region.
The Resolution introduced by Assemblymember Scott Wildman, along with Assemblymen Howard Kaloogian, Chuck Poochigian and Lou Papan brought out strong bi-partisan support for remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by Ottoman Turkish officials.
"Commemorating the Armenian Genocide serves to honor those who suffered and died, as well as educate the people of California about of the most shameful—and little-known—acts in modern history,” said Assemblymember Wildman.
He added, "I’m proud to sponsor this resolution on behalf of the tens of thousand of Armenians in my district, and the millions more around the world who have overcome the trauma of their history to become leaders in business, agriculture, academia, government, and the arts.”
"The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region applauds Assemblymen Wildman, Poochigian, Kaloogian and Papan, for raising awareness of both the Armenian Genocide issue and Nagorno-Karabakh’s struggle for freedom and self-rule,” stated Vicken Sonentz-Papazian, Executive Director of ANCA-WR. “As the text of the resolution clearly points out, Azerbaijan’s genocidal policies toward the inhabitants of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh threatens the very existence of the Armenians who, for centuries, have occupied this historic Armenian Homeland,” added Sonentz-Papazian.
ACR 51 will now be heard on the Senate before returning to the Assembly for concurrence.
The text of the Resolution follows:
Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 51
Whereas, The Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 was the first genocide of the 20th Century, in which 1.5 million men, women, and children lost their lives of the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and
Whereas, During the seven decades of the USSR’s existence, the government of Soviet Azerbaijan conducted a systematic policy of removal of Karabakh Armenians from their historic homeland,” and
Whereas, Armenians in Azerbaijan fell victim to the Sumgait Pogroms in 1988 resulting in 72 deaths, the Baku anti-Armenian riots in 1990 resulting in 68 Armenian deaths, and the mass deportations of 350,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan, and
Whereas, Recognition of these instances of man’s inhumanity to man is crucial to ensuring against the repetition of genocide and provides the American public with a greater understanding of its heritage; and
Whereas, Armenians in the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh remain at risk of yet another genocide until the time a peaceful resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is reached the guarantees the freedom and security for these people while supporting their right to self-determination; and
Whereas, Despite the abundance of overwhelming and convincing evidence, the government of Turkey persists in denying the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide; and United States, and Armenians living in California have enriched our state through their leadership in business, agriculture, academic, government and the Arts; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California hereby designates April 24, 1997, as “California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, and for the victims of the Sumgait Pogroms of 1988 and Baku Riots of 1990”; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the governor and to the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee.
Source: Asbarez On-Line 97/4/22
Kansas becomes 38th state to recognize Armenian Genocide
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"Armenian Americans very much appreciate Governor Sebelius' leadership in adding Kansas to the list of U.S. states that have formally recognized the Armenian Genocide," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.
"We are hopeful that the growing pressure on the White House - from state governments and U.S. legislators - will impress upon the President that he should not stand in the way of Congressional legislation marking this crime against humanity."
In the proclamation, issued on April 20th, Gov. Sebelius proclaims April 24th, 2005, "Armenian Remembrance Day." She notes that April 24th marks "the ninetieth anniversary of the genocide and deportations of countless Armenians in Ottoman Turkey; this great sorrow continues to haunt not only Armenians but also their neighbors in Turkey."
Governor Sebelius goes on to "salute the modern nation of Armenia, and Armenians everywhere," noting that "Kansas is grateful for the contributions of Armenian Americans who have chosen Kansas as their adopted home. They have employed wisdom, courage and centuries old traditions to enrich the character of our state through their leadership in business, agriculture, academia, government and the arts."