WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement on the day of The Armenian Genocide Observance hosted by the Congressional Armenian Issues Caucus.

“Today we commemorate the 97th Anniversary of the systematic annihilation of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children; the first genocide of the 20th Century. Millions were killed, cultural and religious landmarks were destroyed, atrocities were committed again and again while pleas for help were ignored.

“Nearly one hundred years after the Armenian Genocide, Congress has shamefully failed to pass a resolution that would officially recognize the attempt by Ottoman leaders to extinguish the Armenian people. Without this resolution and its direct condemnation of the horrific acts against an entire ethnicity, we implicitly ignore the crimes that were committed. This is an inexcusable affront to history.

“If any lesson can be learned from the Armenian Genocide it is that as Americans, we cannot dismiss calls for aid from victimized groups that are powerless over their oppressors. To honor the memory of those who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, we must renew our pledge to fight human injustices around the globe.”

Yesterday, President Obama announced the formal establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board which would help coordinate a more effective and cohesive response by senior U.S. officials across various agencies. He said, “Remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture.  Awareness without action changes nothing.  In this sense, ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all -- to pause and to look within.”