AYF Targets Corporate Complicity in Genocide Denial with Launch of Chevron Protest Campaign

WASHINGTON—The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) joined with Armenian Americans and human rights activists in kicking off a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about Turkish government coercion of energy giant Chevron and some five multinational corporations currently lobbying against Armenian Genocide legislation.

The protest began on July 22 at the Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, Calif. and local stations across the U.S., in conjunction with an online letter writing campaign to Chevron CEO Dave O’Reilly urging the company to publicly apologize for profiting from genocide denial. (For details, visit www.anca.org/chevron). Over 1,000 activists are already part of a Facebook group taking action on the initiative.

“No company—however big or powerful—should be allowed to profit from genocide or its denial,” said AYF Eastern Region chairwoman Lauren DaSilva. “Chevron and its partners must be exposed for their outrageous actions and breach of their own stated corporate code of conduct.”

According to their website (www.chevron.com/about/chevronwa), the corporation prides itself on running the company the “Chevron Way”—responsibly, ethically, and with respect to human rights. However, on June 13, the Associated Press revealed that Chevron and five other multinational energy and defense corporations, including BAE Systems, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies, and Goodrich, had filed disclosure forms with the Senate and House “quietly” lobbying against H.Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, among a wide array of legislation. In the first quarter of 2009 alone, the six firms had spent some $14 million in Congressional lobby efforts. This is in addition to the over $3 million spent annually by the government of Turkey to block U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, a cornerstone of their foreign policy priorities. The firms would not respond to press inquiries regarding their opposition to the House resolution.

“Clearly, Turkey will spare no expense to cover up its dark past,” said AYF Western Region chairman Vache Thomassian. “Coercing corporations like Chevron to do its dirty deeds is just the latest tactic in exporting genocide denial to our neighborhoods, one gas station at a time.”

Spearheaded by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), George Radanovich (R-Calif.), and Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chairs Frank Pallone and Mark Kirk, House Resolution 252 specifically “1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects proper understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and 2) calls upon the President in the President’s annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.”

The resolution has the support of over 125 co-sponsors, including majority leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.), and Republican whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

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