WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan letter signed by 84 Members of Congress was sent to President Donald Trump urging him to affirm the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) spearheaded the letter asking the White House to honor the United States’ historic leadership in defending human rights and to properly characterize the events of 1915 as a genocide in this year’s presidential statement on April 24th.
“More than 100 years have passed since the start of the Armenian Genocide and the time is long overdue to acknowledge the atrocities committed against the Armenian people for exactly what they were – genocide,” Rep. Pallone stated. “It would be a powerful statement by President Trump in his early presidency to commemorate this anniversary and remember the lives of the one and a half million Armenians who were needlessly slaughtered by Ottoman Turks during the 20th century’s first genocide,” he added.
The letter to President Trump states: “In leading an honest and accurate American remembrance of this known case of genocide, you will stand with President Reagan, who recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1981, and the Eisenhower Administration, which did the same in a 1951 submission to the International Court of Justice.”
During his time in office, President Ronald Reagan squarely acknowledged the Armenian Genocide stating that “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it – and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples – the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”
Additionally, the letter references America’s humanitarian intervention, adding: “Among the proudest chapters in our shared history is America’s remarkable record of protesting the Genocide and in caring for the survivors of this crime.” The letter highlighted the Near East Relief, a Congressionally chartered humanitarian organization which raised $116 million (over $2.5 billion in 2017 dollars) to aid the victims of the Ottoman Empire’s mass murder of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other persecuted peoples.
Last week, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, wherein he noted the importance of reaffirming America’s proud chapter in history in helping to save the survivors of the first genocide of the twentieth century.