Pelosi Floor Speech on Resolution Recognizing the Armenian Genocide

Oct 29, 2019
Press Release

Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.Res. 296, the Armenian Genocide Resolution.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Speaker Pelosi.   Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentleman for yielding.  More importantly, I thank him for bringing this very important legislation to the Floor today.  

I thank you, Mr. Smith, for your ongoing commitment to justice in the world in terms of respecting the dignity and worth of people and not ignoring atrocities when they happen, now and a long time ago.  It's a pleasure to work with you always.  Mr. Chairman, again, I thank you. 

We have tried, gotten this bill out of Committee more than one time, and now it has come to the Floor.  It's an honor to speak on it, and it's a great day for the Congress that we have that privilege.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Smith. 

Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues in solemn remembrance of one of the great atrocities of the 20th century: the systematic murder of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman Empire.

Too often, tragically, the truth of the staggering crime has been denied.  Today, let us clearly state the facts on the Floor of this House to be etched forever into the Congressional Record: the barbarism committed against the Armenian people was a genocide.

As international observers wrote at the time, ‘It was a campaign of race extermination,’ one we as Members of Congress and as freedom-loving people have a moral obligation to never forget.  If we ignore history, then we are destined to witness the mistakes of the past be repeated.

Recent attacks by the Turkish military against the Kurdish people are a stark reminder of the danger in our own time.  

That is why it is critical, year in and year out, to reaffirm our dedication to recognizing the Armenian Genocide and to placing the U.S. Congress firmly on the side of honesty in our history. 

And for that, I thank Chairman Schiff, Chairman Engel, Congresswoman Eshoo, Armenian [Caucus] Co-Chairs Pallone and Speier and all who have worked relentlessly on this critical resolution, which states that Democrats and Republicans join to ‘commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance’; to ‘reject efforts to enlist, engage and otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and’ third, ‘encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States' role in humanitarian relief efforts and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern day crimes against humanity.’ 

To honor the memory of those lost in the suffering, of those who survived, we firmly and unequivocally denounce all attempts to devalue or minimize these heinous crimes.  I urge a strong vote for this resolution, which is a statement of America's commitment to human rights and to truth.  To the truth. 

We are blessed in our country's large Armenian American population, some serving, Congresswoman Speier and Congresswoman Eshoo and others in this House.  

Every year, we come together to observe the sadness of the genocide, but today – thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Smith – today we have the opportunity and may we have the strength and courage to always denounce hate, violence and bigotry, to right the wrongs of history and to build a future of hope, peace and freedom for all mankind.  That is who we are as Americans. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and others for giving us the opportunity to state our values.  Thank you.  I yield back the balance of my time.

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