US House Votes Overwhelmingly to Lock in Armenian Genocide Recognition, Rejecting Turkey’s Denial of This Crime

Armenian National Committee of America Supported Bipartisan Measure (H.Res.296) Integral to Establishing Principled U.S. Policy on the Armenian Genocide

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296), striking a powerful blow against Turkey’s gag-rule on honest U.S. remembrance of that crime.

WASHINGTON, DC – In a major blow to Ankara’s obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to pass H.Res.296, an Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)-backed measure locking in ongoing U.S. recognition of this crime and officially rejecting Turkey’s denial of the genocide it committed against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Maronites and other Christian nations. The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296) was adopted by a vote of 405 to 11 with three voting present.

“The ANCA welcomes the U.S. House of Representatives vote overriding the longest-lasting foreign veto in American history, Ankara’s gag-rule against honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We must now move forcefully toward a truthful, just and comprehensive resolution of Turkey’s crime against humanity that killed over 1.5 million innocent Armenians.”

The ANCA has consistently pushed back against Turkey’s denials, striving to put America on the right side of the Armenian Genocide. Hamparian continued, “While much can be said of today’s vote – this is crystal clear. First, this vote exposed – in powerful ways – Ankara’s attempts to enlist America in its obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide. Second, this vote places America on the side of justice, which has, for far too long, been denied to the victims and surviving generations of the Armenian Genocide.”

The Armenian Genocide Resolution establishes, as a matter of U.S. policy, 1) the rejection of Armenian Genocide denial, 2) ongoing official U.S. government recognition and remembrance of this crime, and 3) support for education about the Armenian Genocide in order to help prevent modern-day atrocities. 

In the hours leading up to Tuesday’s vote on the House floor, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivered rather emotional remarks in his unyielding support of the resolution. “We cannot pick and choose which crimes against humanity are convenient to speak about. We cannot cloak our support of human rights and euphemisms. We cannot be cowed into silence by a foreign power,” said Congressman Schiff. “But what we can do, what we must do…is state the facts. We can say that the Ottoman Empire committed this grotesque crime against the Armenians, but their campaign of extermination failed. And above all, we will never forget…we will never again be silenced.” 

Schiff was instrumental in leading the House effort along with Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) are spearheading the Senate measure (S.Res.150).

Dozens of advocates from the ANCA-Eastern Region were in Washington, DC this week for the historic vote. “After we saw the final vote, we were cheering and crying in the gallery against the rules and no one cared,” recalled ANC-Michigan co-chair Georgi-Ann Oshagan in her statement to the Weekly. “Members of Congress were cheering with us from the floor.” Oshagan says several members including Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) came up to the gallery from the House floor to celebrate with the group; she said so many of these elected officials were emotional during their formal remarks. “I think this vote was cathartic and cleansing for the 405 supporting members as it was for us,” said Oshagan. “Our ancestors were watching and fueled the whole thing. It was an unforgettable day and will keep us going until we obtain full justice with reparations. We aren’t done yet.”

“Decades of hard work paid off today,” said ANCA national board member Ani Tchaghlasian in her remarks to the Weekly. “In the face of cynicism, skepticism and disbelief even within our own community, we never wavered in our staunch belief that this day would come.” Tchaghlasian expressed her gratitude to the hundreds of activists and Armenian-American citizens who called and urged their representatives to support this initiative through the ANCA online portal. “Today marked a small step towards justice,” she continued. “We are just getting started. We celebrate today but must regroup tomorrow for tangible justice for the Armenian nation. Onwards we march towards reparations.”  

Click here for more information on the Armenian Genocide.

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ANCA

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots 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. To learn more, visit www.anca.org.

14 Comments

    • My late grandfather was the only member of his entire family to survive the massacre. He would have been very happy to see that his adopted country had taken this opportunity to show the world what crime had been committed by Turkey against the Armenian people.

  1. An amazing day. Formidable. Fantastic. Gratifying. Memorable. Great.
    Thank you US House of Representatives. An overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 405.
    Thank you to the ANCA, AYF, all Armenian organizations and the Armenian Community in the US for the work and support given to the passage of the resolution.
    Now hopefully the same effort can be exerted to have the Senate Resolution 150 also passed.
    Six administrations, starting with Reagan and until Obama , opposed , objected or blocked resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
    The tide must have changed. Neither the Trump Administration, nor the Dept of State, nor the Dept of Defense, nor the Defense Industry, put any pressure on the House or did any lobbying to withdraw the resolution or vote against it.
    A real mystery. But indeed a most pleasing one.

    Vart Adjemian

    • Give trump the credit. If this was the Obama administration you would be praising his name. It couldn’t easily happened under all the administrations but didn’t. It took someone who was afraid of the fall out with Turkey.

      What a great day for the Armenian people.

  2. What is there to rejoice about? That our national cause was used by the U.S. government for political expediency? Other countries have acknowledged our genocide for the sake of acknowledgment of a human tragedy. But this country, that considers herself the “champion of human rights and moral values” and that holds tens of thousands of pages of official dispatches and witness accounts in her repositories, has done it only as No. 32 after 104 years and mainly in rebuke to Turkey, on the spur of a political moment.

  3. Thank you Rep. Adam Schiff for your consistent support for this momentous Act of Congress. I pray that the Senate has the strength and clarity of mind to do the same; I thank them on behalf of my father and his family who lived in Chimizgez and my in laws and their families who lived in Samson and Tokat. May they rest in peace knowing that their suffering is being acknowledged.

  4. FINALLY, the House of Representatives does the right thing! Turkey has pushed the US around for too long. They are no friends of the US nor good allies. Thanks go to the representatives for their principled vote, to ANCA and all the organizations who lobbied and all the people who made phone calls and sent letters to their reps. Now if we can only get Israel to do the right thing too!

  5. I’m glad that house of representative has acknowledged that but I’m critical that this might be a political game by this administration to change the Turkey behavior and if two governments improved their relation the bill will be finished

    • Not so sure this time. If it was a way to influence turkey to change their ways it wouldn’t have gotten this far (overwhelming passage in the house). this has never happened before. There must be unprecedented anger toward the Turks this time, I sense a tide turning….I would be very surprised if this doesn’t pass in the senate also

    • It is good that this political milestone has been reached…..It must not be forgotten that nations act based on their own national interest……..which is what the armenian nation must do too……at some point, it will stand on its own two feet, act on its own interest, and defend its interests with its metal spoon ladle.

  6. I am happy this is progressing, but can’t help being upset that we have to plead for our own countries like the USA to recognize it when these events were reported by their own media and officials since the 1890s. It’s ridiculous.

    I know this will pass the Senate, but hope it doesn’t end because Trump has business in Turkey and Azerbaijan. The VP’s brother voted against it, I think this sort of signals the White House. But unfortunate for him and others, the media is all over this Armenian Genocide vote and reporting who is voting no. Turkey and their misinfo campaign did not anticipate all the attention. Millions of Americans and people around the world are learning about the Armenian Genocide, which is also a good thing.

  7. Thanks to the ANC and the US Congress for the overwhelming vote. To the 11 Republican who voted “nay” you have to live with yourself. To the two democrats and one Republican who voted “present””we know where your allegiance lie. To those who did not h vote, we know you were in DC because of the impeachment vote. To the UK follow the lead of the only real alley you have the USA and recognize this as a GENOCIDE.

  8. President Trump’s advisors appear to have recommended for promoting the genocide resolution, but he seems to be backing Turkey. Not sure, but Trump seems to kiss up to Turkey. At any rate, we’ll see whether the Republican Majority Senate will confirm the House of Representatives Vote and pass the resolution. If not, those whom bash Democrats should make a note of a Republican Majority rejection against the Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution.

  9. I am of Greek Heritage and my father, born in Greece 1889 fought the Turks 1913–16. We have always felt a connection for obvious reasons. I am Greek/ Roman Catholic and Live at The Vineyards, The California Armenian Home. We have 3 of the Christian churches
    involved with the Theological side of the support of this situation. If only our legislators and administration could read the facts of the crimes and injustices and act.

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