Rhode Island State House Resolution

June 17, 2020

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Introduced By: Representatives Kazarian, Shekarchi, Corvese, Mattiello, and Solomon

Date Introduced: June 17, 2020

WHEREAS, The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and resulted in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, and the remaining 500,000 survived but were expelled from their homes. This act succeeded in the elimination of the Armenians from their historic ancestral homeland where they had resided for over 2,500 years; and

WHEREAS, On May 24, 1915, for the first time ever, the Allied Powers of England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging another government of committing "a crime against humanity"; and

WHEREAS, This joint statement declared, "the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres"; and

WHEREAS, United States Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. explicitly described the policy of the Ottoman Empire's government to the United States Department of State as "a campaign of race extermination," and on July 16, 1915, was informed by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the "Department approves your procedure... to stop Armenian persecution"; and

WHEREAS, The post-World War I Turkish government indicted the top leaders involved in the organization and execution of the Armenian Genocide and in the "massacre and destruction of the Armenians," and in a series of court-martials, officials of the Young Turk regime were charged, tried and convicted, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people; and

WHEREAS, In 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian Genocide as "precisely... one of the types of acts which the modern term 'crimes against humanity' is intended to cover" as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals; and

WHEREAS, The United States National Archives and Record Administration holds extensive and thorough documentation on the Armenian Genocide, especially in its holdings under Record Group 59 of the United States Department of State, files 867.00 and 867.40, which are open and widely available to the public and interested institutions; and

WHEREAS, The United States Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent federal agency, unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would include the Armenian Genocide in the museum and has since done so; and

WHEREAS, When one enters the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there is an exhibit depicting Adolf Hitler, who on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by stating "[w]ho, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?", thus setting the stage for the Holocaust; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby recognizes April 24, 2020, as "Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day" in the State of Rhode Island; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this House respectfully requests the President of the United States and the United States Congress to call on the government of Turkey to face history and acknowledge this crime of genocide committed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and further, urge the Turkish government to make restitution for the loss of lives, confiscated properties, and general unlawful deportations, separating the indigenous population from their homeland; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this House expresses its deepest sympathy to the Armenian-American community of Rhode Island and assures them that this genocide will always be commemorated and never forgotten; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States, the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, the Honorable Gina Raimondo, Governor of the State of Rhode Island, the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, and the Armenian National Committee in Washington.