Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in recognition of the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide:
"This week we commemorate the 96th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide and pay tribute to the victims and the survivors. The truth has too often been denied about one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century. The historical record is clear that a genocide was conceived and executed by the rulers of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.
"International observers and diplomats to the Ottoman Empire, including U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, watched a nightmare unfurl and provided detailed accounts about "a campaign of race extermination.' In that time, it is estimated that the voices of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children were silenced forever; and up to two million others were forced from their homes.
"If we ignore history then we are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. The genocides in Rwanda and Darfur remind us that we must do more to prevent genocide from ever happening again.
"The issue of recognizing the Armenian genocide and helping the Armenian people knows no lines of political party. I am proud to have supported the Armenian genocide resolution throughout my career in Congress and worked with members across the aisle to support U.S. assistance for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
"In the 111th Congress, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution formally recognizing the Armenian genocide. Chairman Howard Berman led the charge in the committee -- placing the U.S. House of Representatives on the side of honesty in our history.
"Together, I joined supporters of the Armenian genocide resolution to try to build the necessary support to pass the resolution on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the end of the day, the resolution (H. Res. 252) had 148 co-sponsors and there was serious concern that the resolution did not have the necessary 218 votes needed for passage.
"While some may disagree, many supporters believe that allowing the resolution to go down in defeat would damage the credibility of the United States on this issue and affirm the false argument that one of the greatest crimes in history did not happen. We were not willing to take that chance.
"Moving forward, we must continue to build support in Congress to pass the resolution and to honor the memories of the victims and the lives of the survivors."