House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on the Armenian Genocide

Ed Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs  joined Armenian Americans and other members of Congress on April 18, 2018 to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian genocide was the Ottoman government’s systematic physical annihilation of 1.5 million Armenian Christians living in the Ottoman Empire from spring 1915 through autumn 1916. They died either in massacres and individual killings, or from systematic ill treatment, exposure, and starvation.

Chairman Royce stated: That is why I have repeatedly called on various U.S. administrations to call the horrific violence of 1915 by its true name, and officially recognize it as the Armenian Genocide. Just this week I have joined with several of my House colleagues on a letter to President Trump, urging him again to refer to the genocide in his April 24th commemoration remarks.

I am also an original cosponsor of H. Res. 220, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should learn the difficult lessons from past genocides, including the Armenian genocide, to prevent similar horrors from occurring again.

We applaud the decision of Mr. Royce to recognize the suffering of Armenian people. We are strongly convinced that all genocides, be it the WWII genocide of ethnic Jews and Poles, the racial extermination of the HereroNama and San people in German South West Africa (modern-day Namibia) by the German Empire, the Native American genocide, crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia or in Rwanda, Dash atrocities against people in Iraq and Syria or the ongoing crackdown against the Rohingya in Burma and against the civilians in Yemen, they all deserve due recognition.

According to the General Assembly of the United Nations resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948, in force since 12 January 1951: “genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world. Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required.”

Pope Saint John Paul II believed that every human being has the duty to help whenever a person’s rights are endangered. In support of this principle, he referred to the biblical demand for universal love of one’s neighbor: “Sacred Scripture … demands of us a shared responsibility for all of humanity. This duty . . . extends progressively to all mankind, since no one can consider himself extraneous or indifferent to the lot of another member of the human family.” Humanity, “beyond its ethnic, national, cultural and religious differences, should form a community” from which universal solidarity claims are derived.

We thank you Chairman Royce for your efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The full speech of Mr. Royce is accessible here.

Image: Armenian civilians are marched to a nearby prison by armed Ottoman soldiers, April 1915. Source: Wikipedia.