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H.Res.550 calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to formally recognize the Assyrian Genocide (1914-1923) during which as many as 300,000 Assyrians were systematically killed by the Ottoman Empire (later the Republic of Turkey) and allied Kurdish tribes. The resolution accurately tells the history of the Assyrian Genocide and Simele Massacre. Among its many provisions, it emphasizes the need for "education and public understanding of the facts of the Assyrian Genocide."
"Let’s call the murder of 300,000 innocent Assyrians what it is – a genocide."
–REP. JOSH HARDER
At a glance
H.Res. 550 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Josh Harder (CA-10) in July 2021. The resolution calls for formal U.S. recognition of the Assyrian Genocide. Click here to read the resolution.
The resolution is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for consideration before it is possibly brought to the House floor for a vote.
Original co-sponsors of H.Res. 550 include Reps. Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Adam Schiff (CA-28). When a bill is in committee, co-sponsors can still sign onto the measure. Legislation is generally brought to a vote when the number of co-sponsors is equal to half the membership of its chamber, plus one member. In the House, that number is 218.
H.Res. 550 is called a 'simple resolution.' A simple resolution addresses matters entirely within the prerogative of one chamber of Congress. Simple resolutions are often used to express the sentiments of a single chamber, or they may give "advice" on foreign policy. Simple resolutions do not require the approval of the other chamber, and they are not presented to the President. Thus, they do not have the force of law.
Recognize the Assyrian Genocide
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Rep. Josh Harder
Rep. Anna Eshoo
Rep. Adam Schiff
Rep. Debbie Lesko
Rep. Brad Sherman
Rep. Andy Levin
Rep. Jim McGovern
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Rep. Dina Titus
Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Rep. Brad Schneider
Rep. Ayanna Pressley
Rep. Mike Quigley
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
Rep. Zoe Lofgren
4 reasons why genocide recognition matters.
Recognition goes beyond symbolism. It restores a sense of dignity for the victims and affirms the moral necessity of remembrance—acknowledging the magnitude of the crimes perpetrated.
Recognition is a critical step towards future justice processes. Through official recognition, the U.S. can pressure the Turkish government to end its denials, acknowledge the truth, accept its responsibilities, and engage with the relevant stakeholders toward a just resolution of its crimes. It also acknowledges the rights of Assyrians, alongside Armenians and Greeks as co-victims, to seek redress for the crimes perpetrated against them.
Official recognition confirms the historical record and counters efforts to reshape history—challenging Turkish national myths that deny the genocide occurred. It also enables and encourages local, state-level, and federal initiatives to incorporate the study of the 1915 genocide of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians in schools across the U.S.
Proper recognition of genocide helps prevent future genocides. Silence in the face of denial emboldens those who would commit genocide in the future, and promotes impunity and cultures of intolerance. Perpetrators of subsequent crimes—Hitler among them—have been emboldened by the international community's failure to confront genocide.
Year of the Sword (Oxford University Press, 2016)
The Assyrian Genocide: Cultural and Political Legacies (Routledge, 2017)
Bloodied, But Unbowed: A Memoir of the Ashur and Arshaluys Yousuf Family (Nineveh Press, 2018)
Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: Intercommunal Relations on the Periphery of the Ottoman Empire (Cambria, 2008)
Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the Twentieth Century (Edinburgh University Press, 2015)
Sargon G. Donabed
Genocide in the Middle East (Carolina Academic Press, 2010)
Let Them Not Return (Berghahn, 2017)
David Gaunt, Naures Atto, Soner O. Barthoma
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