Glendale, CA – On Friday, July 9, 2004, the Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) flew to Washington, DC to deliver thousands of postcards demanding that Republican leaders of the House and Senate schedule a vote on resolutions marking the 15th anniversary of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Over the course of the last four months, ANC local chapters have been actively collecting signatures for the year long ANCA National Genocide Prevention Postcard Campaign. ANC Chapters and activists in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Texas have been instrumental in gathering over 150,000 postcards and over 25,000 additional signatures.
Both H.Res 193 and S. 164 are pending because leaders in both bodies refuse to bring the measures to a vote. Both bills mark America’s commitment to the U.N. Genocide Convention, which was adopted by the United States in 1988.
The late President Ronald Reagan was a primary force in encouraging the U.S.
Senate to ratify and implement the U.N. Genocide Convention. Adopted by the United Nations in 1948, the Convention languished on the Senate docket for some 40 years, despite the heroic efforts of Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire (D) and later Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell (D) to obtain passage of the measure. In 1986, President Reagan urged the Senate leadership to takeup the bill and, after a number of modifications, the Convention was signed into law by Reagan in 1988.
`The time has come for a vote,’ remarked ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian.
`With the support of hundreds of Members of Congress and over a hundred civic organizations, these bills deserve to be voted on in the House and Senate.
It is a sad day in America when Republican leaders actively block legislation marking a Convention that is designed to prevent future genocides,’ he added.
The ANCA Genocide Prevention Postcard Campaign was launched last year with the help of Grammy nominated musicians System of a Down. The purpose of the Postcard campaign is to raise public awareness about the Genocide resolutions and urge Congressional leadership to schedule a vote.
`We’re confident that both of these bills will pass if they come to a vote, so it’s up to the leadership to bring them to the floor,’ commented ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian. `The House version passed in committee without any objection,’ he added referring to the vote on H. Res. 193 in the House Judiciary Committee back in May of 2003.
To date, over 100,000 postcards have been delivered to both the House and Senate leadership offices. With less than four months left in the legislative calendar year, the ANCA-WR aims to heighten its efforts to raise awareness and call for a Congressional vote.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Editor’s Note: Photo attached Photo caption – ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Armen Carapetian, ANCA-WR intern Lara Talverdian, and ANCA-WR Staff Assistant Tamar Sadoriancount out Genocide Prevention campaign postcards and prepare to send them to Congressional and Senate Leadership Offices in Washington, DC.