USCIRF Welcomes Administration’s Historic Decision to Recognize Armenian Genocide

Apr 24, 2021

USCIRF Welcomes Administration’s Historic Decision to Recognize Armenian Genocide

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes President Joseph R. Biden’s historic decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide on the somber occasion of its 106th anniversary. Beginning in 1915, the Ottoman Empire embarked on a systematic campaign to deport and kill over one million Armenians over the course of the ensuing years. The Biden administration’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide as such marks a significant and long overdue step to acknowledge the reality of the nature of those atrocities.

The White House commendably joins the U.S. Congress in recognizing as genocide the horrific killings of countless Armenians—as well as Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other religious and ethnic minorities—in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” said USCIRF Chair Gayle Manchin. “As we remember and commemorate the many lives lost, we also recognize the tireless efforts of survivors, their descendants, and so many others to finally and firmly place the United States on the right side of that terrible history.”

USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins added, While we hope that this brings some solace and consolation to Armenians around the world who have fought for this day, we also hope that it will portend greater reflection and a renewed commitment to speak up and stand against the perpetration of crimes against humanity everywhere.”

As we honor the memories of those killed more than a century ago, we must not turn a blind eye to the acts of genocide and other atrocities still committed today,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Anurima Bhargava. “This includes refocusing efforts on a genocide determination for the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people and working to hold the Chinese government accountable for the genocide and crimes against humanity that it continues to perpetrate against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang.”

In 2019, USCIRF welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide with the passage of H.Res.296, and urged the U.S. Senate to pass its companion resolution, S.Res.150, which it passed at the end of that year. USCIRF also commemorated the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015.

In May, USCIRF will hold a hearing on U.S. government genocide determinations and next steps.

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or Danielle Ashbahian at dashbahian@uscirf.gov.