Joined: 25 Oct 2003
| Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:25 pm Post subject: Very important strategic vote in Washington!
|WASHINGTON, DC – In a powerful rebuke to the Turkish government's campaign of genocide denial, the House of Representatives this evening adopted the Schiff Amendment, prohibiting the Turkish government from using U.S. foreign assistance in its multi-million dollar campaign to defeat legislation (H.Res.193) recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The amendment, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), was passed by a voice vote and added to the fiscal year 2005 foreign aid bill (H.R.4818). The foreign aid bill was later passed by a vote of 365 to 41.
In his remarks on the House floor introducing the measure, Rep. Schiff told his colleagues that, "today I offer a simple amendment that will honor the one and a half million Armenians who perished in the Armenian Genocide of the 1915 and 1923. I consider this a sacred obligation to ensure that the men, women, and children who perished in the Armenian Genocide are not lost to history and that this Congress not fund shameful efforts to deny that the Genocide occurred." Commenting after the vote, Rep. Schiff said, "We are another step closer to silencing those who would deny the murder of 1.5 million Armenians," adding that, "This amendment stands true to the memory of the victims."
"The passage of this amendment is a major victory," said Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. "It clearly sends a message that the United States House of Representatives will not tolerate Turkey's lobbying against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide." In his remarks during consideration of the measure, the New Jersey legislator stressed that "it is time for this body to stop defending and funding a government that continues to deny its own history, and refuses to break with the pattern of intolerance established by past Turkish governments which dealt with minority issues by committing genocide against Armenians, massacring and driving Greeks from its shores, restricting the rights of Christians to worship, and denying the existence of its Kurdish citizens."
"We want, first and foremost, to thank Congressman Schiff for his tireless leadership in advancing this amendment, to recognize the strong support of Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg, and to note the pivotal role that Chairman Kolbe played in helping this measure reach the House floor - where, as we all saw this evening, it enjoyed overwhelming bi-partisan support," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.
The Genocide Resolution, H.Res.193, reaffirms U.S. support for the Genocide Convention and cites the importance of remembering past crimes against humanity, including the Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, in an effort to stop future atrocities. It faces intense opposition from the Turkish government, which has enlisted the backing of the White House in its efforts to block this measure from being scheduled for a vote of the full House.
The Genocide Resolution was introduced, in the House, in April, 2003, by Representatives George Radanovich (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI). Its Senate companion measure was introduced, in June, 2003, by Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ). H.Res.193 was adopted unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee last May. Support for the measure has been widespread off of Capitol Hill as well, with a diverse coalition of over 100 ethnic, religious, civil and human rights organizations calling for its passage, including American Values, National Organization of Women, Sons of Italy, NAACP, Union of Orthodox Rabbis, and the National Council of La Raza.