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API Welcomes Reintroduction of the Simele Massacre Resolution in U.S. Congress

The Assyrian Policy Institute welcomes the reintroduction of the Semele [sic] Massacre resolution, House Resolution 472, by U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08). The resolution accurately tells the history of the Simele Massacre (1933) and calls for formal U.S. recognition of this crime. H.Res.472 is a continuation of Representative Lesko's efforts to bring about formal recognition of the Simele Massacre. Click here to read H.Res. 472.

Introducing the legislation, Representative Lesko stated, “I am pleased to introduce this important resolution to recognize the Semele Massacre. The Assyrian community has undergone immense hardships throughout the years, including the Semele Massacre. I hope through bringing awareness to the atrocities of 1933, we can prevent anything like this from happening ever again.” Representative Lesko was joined by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Anna Eshoo (D-CA-16), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), and Brad Sherman (D-CA-32) in the introduction of this legislation.

The Simele Massacre was committed by the armed forces of the Iraqi state (founded in 1932) systematically targeting the indigenous Assyrian population in northern Iraq in August 1933. The term is not only used to describe the massacre in Simele, but the wider genocidal campaign that took place across more than 100 Assyrian villages in modern-day Dohuk and Mosul that led to the death of as many as 6,000 Assyrians and the displacement of tens of thousands more.

Despite conclusive evidence documenting this crime, the Government of Iraq has never recognized this state-sanctioned massacre. Historical injustices against the Assyrian people in Iraq have lasting consequences that threaten their future. The Simele Massacre stands as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition, condemnation, and resolution.

H.Res.472 recognizes and honors the victims of this crime, and acknowledges the historical significance of the horrific events that took place. 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. This bipartisan 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.

"We join with Assyrian-Americans across the country in thanking Congresswoman Lesko for her efforts to advance critical understanding and awareness of the Simele Massacre," said Reine Hanna, API Executive Director.

The resolution is expected to be referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for consideration. H.Res.472 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.


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