U.S. House of Representatives Recognizes and Condemns Genocide Committed By ISIS Against Christians
Armenians Specifically Named as a Victim Group
Armenian Assembly Discussed Importance of Measure with House Speaker Paul Ryan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the House unanimously passed a resolution condemning the atrocities committed by ISIS as genocide against Christian, Yezidi, and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria.
Spearheaded by the House Caucus for Religious Minorities in the Middle East Co-Chairs, Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), H.Con.Res.75 garnered the bipartisan support of 213 cosponsors.
Upon passage in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement “What is happening in Iraq and Syria is a deliberate, systematic targeting of religious and ethnic minorities. Today, the House unanimously voted to call ISIS’s atrocities what they are: a genocide. We also will continue to offer our prayers for the persecuted.” The Speaker’s office also posted the following image on its website:
During the Armenian Assembly of America’s (Assembly) meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) this month, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny recalled Ryan’s involvement with the Armenian American community when he emceed the Assembly’s 2009 National Advocacy Conference & Banquet. They also discussed a range f critical issues, especially the importance of the resolution, as well as the Assembly’s support for it.
“The Armenian Assembly appreciates Speaker Ryan’s principled stand against the atrocities taking place. Experience has taught the value of using the right labels and taking action in order to prevent more violence, which is why we urge the State Department to follow the lead of the House,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said. “The world has watched in horror as Christians, Yezidis, Kurds, and other innocent civilian groups have been subjected to attempts to eliminate not only their physical presence, but also their cultural and religious presence in their home countries. The Assembly and all Armenians are grateful to House Members and all those who stand against this tide.”
The bill was amended during consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) to include Armenians as one of the Christian groups persecuted by ISIS. H.Con.Res.75 specifically identifies 8 ethnic and religious groups as follows: “Whereas the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and associated extremists are committing egregious atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, including Christians (including Assyrian Chaldean Syriac, Armenian, and Melkite communities, among others), Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean Mandeans, and Kaka’i, among others.”
At the HFAC markup, Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI) spoke of the importance of this bill, highlighting his first trip as a member of Congress to Yerevan last year to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. “I saw firsthand how painful and somber the memory of those atrocities are even today,” Rep. Trott said. “We have failed to recognize the Armenian Genocide and I urge my colleagues not to make the same mistake again,” he added.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) concurred and stated, “We can’t afford the same negligence that we saw on the Armenian Genocide, with respect against the Yazidis and Christians and other members seeking recognition.”
Click here to watch the live footage of H.Con.Res.75 on the House Floor on March 14, 2016.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
Photo Caption: Father Yeprem Kelegian, Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian