The Assyrian Policy Institute announced support for the Assyrian Genocide resolution, House Resolution 550, which was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by Congressman Josh Harder (CA-30). The resolution accurately tells the history of the Assyrian Genocide (1914-1924) and Simele Massacre (1933), and calls for formal U.S. recognition of the Assyrian Genocide. In addition, it emphasizes the need for “education and public understanding of the facts of the Assyrian Genocide, including the United States’ role in humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Assyrian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.”
Introducing the legislation, Representative Harder stated, “Assyrians in the Valley make our community who we are, and it’s time we recognize their history and commemorate their past. Let’s call the murder of 300,000 innocent Assyrians what it is – a genocide. Let’s come together once and for all reject efforts to deny this Genocide and any other. And let’s do what needs to be done to push the world to do the same. Today, I’m proud to stand with the Assyrian people in my community and around the globe.” Representative Harder was joined by Representatives Anna Eshoo (CA-18), the only Assyrian-American Member of Congress, and Adam Schiff (CA-28) who co-sponsored the legislation.
It is estimated that upwards of 250,000 Assyrians perished at the hands of Ottoman Turkish authorities and allied Kurdish tribes during the Assyrian Genocide—which coincided with the more widely recognized Armenian Genocide—and a large number were forced into permanent exile. The aim of the Young Turk regime was to homogenize the Ottoman Empire by Turkifying the country and eliminating non-Turkish and non-Muslim communities. For years, Assyrians were subjected to a systematic campaign of massacre, torture, abduction, deportation, impoverishment, and cultural and ethnic destruction. The genocide took place in various phases over a wide area under Ottoman Turkish rule—including in modern-day Turkey, Iran, and Iraq—where Assyrians once formed a vibrant, thriving community. H.Res.550 recognizes and honors the victims of this crime, and acknowledges the historical significance of the horrific events that took place.
This resolution amplifies the voices of Assyrian-American advocates and organizers nationwide who have long called for recognition of the Assyrian Genocide and other atrocities committed against the Assyrian people. It also acknowledges the lasting effects of the crimes committed, including the forced and often permanent separation of Assyrian families.
The United States is home to more than 600,000 Assyrian-Americans. This thriving community is a proud reminder of survival and perseverance in the face of mass atrocities and extreme injustice.
“We join with Assyrian-Americans across the United States in welcoming the reintroduction of the Assyrian Genocide resolution by Congressman Harder, whose principled and steadfast leadership has advanced critical understanding and awareness of the crimes that took place more than a century ago,” said Jon Koriel, API Chairman. “We look forward to working with our friends in Congress, community partners, and growing network of supporters to help build bipartisan support for this important legislative initiative.”
The resolution is expected to be referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for consideration. H.Res.550 is a ‘simple resolution,’ which is the term used to describe a resolution that 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 provide “advice” on foreign policy. Simple resolutions do not require the approval of the other chamber nor the signature of the President, and they do not have the force of law.
H.Res.550 is a continuation of Representative Harder’s efforts to bring about formal recognition of the Assyrian Genocide. He first introduced a previous version of the Assyrian Genocide resolution in 2019. Click here to read the resolution.