California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly Joint ResolutionNo. 1

Introduced by Assembly Member Gatto

December 1, 2014

Assembly Joint Resolution No. 1—Relative to the Armenian Genocide.


AJR 1, as introduced, Gatto. Armenian Genocide.

This measure would designate the week of April 18 to 24, 2015, as “California Week of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923,” commemorate the week of remembrance through the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Project, call upon Congress and the President of the United States to recognize the atrocities committed against the Armenian people, and call upon the Republic of Turkey to acknowledge the facts of the Armenian Genocide and work toward a just resolution.

Fiscal committee: no.

P1    1WHEREAS, The Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 was the
2first genocide of the 20th century, in which 1.5 million men,
3women, and children lost their lives at the hands of the Turkish
4Ottoman Empire in their attempt to systematically eliminate the
5Armenian race; and

6WHEREAS, In their 3,000 year historic homeland in Asia
7Minor, Armenians were subjected to severe and unjust persecution
8and brutality by the Turkish rulers of the Ottoman Empire before
9and after the turn of the 20th century, including widespread acts
P2    1of destruction and murder during the period from 1894 to 1896,
2inclusive, and again in 1909; and

3WHEREAS, The massacre of the Armenians constituted one of
4the most atrocious violations of human rights in the history of the
5world; and

6WHEREAS, Adolph Hitler, in persuading his army commanders
7that the merciless persecution and killing of Jews, Poles, and other
8people would bring no retribution, declared, “Who, after all, speaks
9today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”; and

10WHEREAS, Unlike other people and governments that have
11admitted and denounced the abuses and crimes of predecessor
12regimes, and despite the overwhelming proof of genocidal intent,
13the Republic of Turkey has inexplicably and adamantly denied the
14occurrence of the crimes against humanity committed by the
15Ottoman and Young Turk rulers, and those denials compound the
16grief of the few remaining survivors of the atrocities, desecrate
17the memory of the victims, and cause continuing pain to the
18descendants of the victims; and

19WHEREAS, Leaders of nations with strategic, commercial, and
20cultural ties to the Republic of Turkey should be reminded of their
21duty to encourage Turkish officials to cease efforts to distort facts
22and deny the history of events surrounding the Armenian Genocide;

24WHEREAS, The determination of those who continue to speak
25the truth about the Armenian Genocide is tested to this day with
26some of these speakers of truth being silenced by violent means;

28WHEREAS, The accelerated level and scope of denial and
29revisionism, coupled with the passage of time and the fact that
30very few survivors remain who can serve as reminders of
31indescribable brutality and tormented lives, compel a sense of
32urgency in efforts to solidify recognition of historical truth; and

33WHEREAS, By consistently remembering and forcefully
34condemning the atrocities committed against the Armenians, and
35honoring the survivors as well as other victims of similar heinous
36conduct, we guard against repetition of such acts of genocide and
37provide the American public with a greater understanding of its
38heritage; and

39WHEREAS, This measure would provide that the Legislature
40deplores the persistent, ongoing efforts by any person in this
P3    1country or abroad to deny the historical fact of the Armenian
2Genocide; and

3WHEREAS, California is home to the largest
4Armenian-American population in the United States, and
5Armenians living in California have enriched our state through
6their leadership in business, agriculture, academia, government,
7and the arts; and

8WHEREAS, The State of California has been at the forefront
9of encouraging and promoting a curriculum relating to human
10rights and genocide in order to empower future generations to
11prevent recurrence of the crime of genocide; and

12WHEREAS, On this hundred-year anniversary marking the start
13of this horrific and shameful chapter in human history, we stop to
14reflect on the time that has passed and pledge not to become
15complacent in our vigilance against those entities who would
16commit such horrible acts against their fellow men and women;
17now, therefore, be it

18Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of
19California, jointly,
That the State of California commends its
20conscientious educators who teach about human rights and
21genocide; and be it further

22Resolved, That the Legislature of the State of California hereby
23designates the week of April 18 to 24, 2015, as “California Week
24of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923”; and
25be it further

26Resolved, That California commemorates California Week of
27Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide through the Armenian
28Genocide Commemorative Project; and be it further

29Resolved, That the State of California respectfully calls upon
30the Congress and the President of the United States to act likewise
31and to formally and consistently recognize and reaffirm the
32historical truth that the atrocities committed against the Armenian
33people constituted genocide; and be it further

34Resolved, That the Legislature calls upon the Republic of Turkey
35to acknowledge the facts of the Armenian Genocide and to work
36toward a just resolution; and be it further

37Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies
38of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United
39States, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of
40Representatives, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the
P4    1Senate, each member of the California delegation to the United
2States Congress, the Governor, and the Turkish Ambassador to
3the United States.