A diverse group of leading Assyrian-American organizations announced today that they have come together to form a coalition with the aim of working proactively with policymakers and the public to highlight the importance of Assyrian Genocide recognition. The Assyrian Policy Institute is proud to have joined the coalition which includes 16 organizations.
On August 2, 2019, Representative Josh Harder (D-CA-10) introduced H.Res.537 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation calls on the United States to formally recognize the Assyrian Genocide (1914-1925) during which the Ottoman Turkish government (later the Republic of Turkey) and allied Kurdish tribes subjected hundreds of thousands of Assyrians to a systematic campaign of massacre, torture, abduction, deportation, impoverishment, and cultural and ethnic destruction. More than 250,000 Assyrians were killed during the genocide, a number that represented more than half the entire Assyrian population at the time. The resolution also calls for the United States to urge Turkey to recognize the genocide.
The API endorsed the legislation earlier this month. Access the full text and our analysis of the resolution by viewing our bill tracker.
"H.Res.537 brings awareness of a brutal campaign orchestrated by the Ottoman Empire that took the lives of innocent Assyrian men, women, and children in what is recognized as the first genocide of the twentieth century," said API Chairman Jon Koriel. "Failure to recognize the genocide absolves the perpetrators and prolongs the suffering of Assyrian survivors. We thank Representative Harder for his support and his efforts to bring light and awareness to this issue that is so important to the Assyrian-American community. We are proud to partner with so many reputable Assyrian-American organizations to promote awareness and accountability."
The newly-formed coalition sent a letter of support to Rep. Josh Harder which reads: "Tragically, Assyrians continue to endure genocidal violence, persecution, and discrimination in their homeland today. Thus, the Assyrian Genocide stands as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition, condemnation, and resolution."
Sam David, President of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock which is located in Rep. Harder's congressional district stated, "We are deeply appreciative of the efforts undertaken by Rep. Harder and his staff. It means a great deal to our community locally and nationwide to know that he is making Assyrian-American issues a legislative priority. We are proud to see so many Assyrian-American organizations coming together to support this legislation and echo calls for justice."
The coalition has also launched a joint call-to-action calling on the public to support the legislation.
The coalition formed to support H.Res.537 includes the following organizations:
Assyrian Aid Society
Assyrian American Association of Massachusetts
Assyrian American Association of San Jose
Assyrian American Association of Southern California
Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock
Assyrian American Cultural Organization of Arizona
Assyrian Arts Institute
Assyrian National Council of Illinois
Assyrian Policy Institute
Assyrian Youth Federation of America
Assyrian Foundation of America
E'rootha Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Youth Union
Iraqi Christian Relief Council