Third Annual Conference to Spotlight Efforts to Preserve Christianity in the Middle East; Advocate Passage of Armenian Genocide Truth + Justice Resolution (H.Res.154)
WASHINGTON, DC—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) will serve as a major sponsor of the In Defense of Christians (IDC) National Advocacy Convention, to be held September 7-9, 2016, in Washington, DC. Hundreds of prominent Christians and diverse faith leaders will join human rights advocates from across the United States to urge elected officials to take concrete action to preserve Christianity in the Middle East.
“The ANCA is proud to be a sponsor of the In Defense of Christians National Advocacy Convention,” remarked ANCA Government Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian. “We look forward to joining convention participants from all faiths in highlighting for Members of Congress and the Executive Branch the plight of Christians and other vulnerable minorities in the Middle East. The ANCA is pleased that the National Advocacy Convention will highlight – as a major policy goal – congressional consideration and passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution,” added Karakashian.
The Armenian Genocide Truth + Justice Resolution (H.Res.154) – which is now pending before Congress – calls on the President of the United States to work toward equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgment of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity. The ANCA is strongly in support of congressional passage of H.Res.154.
The ANCA has worked closely with IDC and a coalition of over 100 organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, the International Religious Freedom Roundtable and the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church in a grassroots campaign to have Congress and the Obama Administration declare the slaughter that Christians and other minorities in the Middle East are facing a modern-day genocide.
Earlier this year, on March 15th, with a vote of 393 to 0, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously condemned as genocide the ongoing ISIL/Da’esh crimes against Christians – including Armenians and Assyrians – as well as Yezidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East by adopting H.Con.Res.75, spearheaded by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). Two days later, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry clearly and unequivocally characterized the ongoing ISIL / Da’esh attacks and killings of the Christians, Yezidis, and Shiite Muslims in the Middle East as genocide, with specific mention of the destruction of Armenian churches as part of the cultural destruction of these historic communities. The Senate adopted a similar resolution (S.Res.340) on July 7th.
The IDC National Advocacy Convention – titled “Beyond Genocide: Preserving Christianity in the Middle East” – will be held from September 7 through 9, 2016 at a variety of venues in Washington, DC. The conference will begin with a press conference at the National Press Club and continue the first evening with an Ecumenical Prayer Service with religious leaders and people of all walks of faith. The next day (September 8th) the convention will feature a National Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where participants will meet with close to 100 members of Congress to highlight the plight of Christians and other minorities across the Middle East. That evening, a formal dinner will be held at the Capitol Hill Club that will feature addresses from senior federal policymakers. The last day of the conference (September 9) will feature a policy and awareness symposium at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, followed that evening by the premiere of the movie “Our Last Stand” – a documentary on the plight of Christian communities in Syria and Iraq.
Individuals who are interested in attending the In Defense of Christians Conference with ANCA leaders are encouraged to contact ANCA Government Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian at (202) 775-1918 or by email at [email protected]
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, joined with Christian leaders from throughout the Middle East at the inaugural IDC conference in 2014, offering a powerful call for unity in the face of the existential threat against historic Middle Eastern Christian communities. Video of His Holiness Aram I’s remarks below.
In Defense of Christians is a 501(c3) U.S. non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the protection and preservation of Christianity and Christian culture in the Middle East. They work to foster global awareness of the on-going plight of Middle Eastern Christians, encourage political advocacy in order to educate national and international policy makers so as to act toward this goal, and promote programs of humanitarian aid in solidarity with suffering Christian communities in the Middle East.