R 200
2021 -- H 6244
Enacted 04/15/2021

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Kazarian, Corvese, Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Fenton-Fung, Potter, Baginski, Williams, Hawkins, and Alzate

Date Introduced: April 15, 2021

     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";
     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; and
     WHEREAS, In 1918, after the fall of the Russian Empire, the Azerbaijan Democratic
Republic and the First Republic of Armenia both declared independence; however, shortly
thereafter, they became part of the Soviet Union. The modern Republic of Azerbaijan once again
proclaimed its independence in August of 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the USSR.
Within its borders, however, the predominantly Armenian enclave known as the Republic of
Artsakh officially voted to become part of Armenia; and
     WHEREAS, Azerbaijan sought to suppress the separatist movement, while Armenia
backed it. Turkey has close ties to Azerbaijan and was the first nation to recognize Azerbaijan's
independence in 1991. In 1993, Turkey, in addition to engaging in numerous hostilities, shut its
border with Armenia in support of Azerbaijan during the war over the Republic of Artsakh; and
     WHEREAS, In Turkey's continuing aggression and genocide of Armenians that began
more than 100 years ago, an armed conflict between Azerbaijan, with military support provided
by Turkey, and the Republic of Artsakh resulted in Armenia being forced to return many of the
surrounding territories it had occupied for decades, and although current ceasefire and
negotiations were agreed upon, Azerbaijan continues to seek unilateral concessions through
threats of the use of force; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island hereby
recognizes April 24, 2021, as "Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day" in the State of Rhode
Island; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That this House hereby 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 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
     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 Joseph Biden, President of the
United States, the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, the Governor of the State of Rhode
Island, the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, and the Armenian National
Committee in Washington.