Statement on the 97th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Apr 24, 2012 Issues: Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chairman,

I rise today to join my colleagues in commemorating the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

97 years ago, the government of the Ottoman Empire started a ruthless and systematic campaign of genocide against the Armenian people.  Beginning with the targeted execution of 300 Armenian leaders, this intentional attempt at extermination ultimately claimed the lives of over 1.5 million people and forcibly exiled another 500,000.

And despite these chilling numbers and a clear historical record of fact, there remains a failure to acknowledge this vast human tragedy for what it truly is: genocide. That is why it is essential that we continue to speak out and solemnly commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Accordingly, I am proud to support a resolution this session of Congress that affirms the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide and honors its victims and survivors.

By acknowledging this dark chapter of human history, we help protect against the possible creation of a violent culture of impunity.  We cannot allow past acts of evil to be erased from our collective consciousness if we are to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

In closing, I encourage all my colleagues to take time today to remember and honor the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.