Armenian Issues Caucus Co-Chairman Ensured Passage of Amendment Calling on Turkey to Return Stolen Armenian Churches
GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced that Republican Congressman Ed Royce will receive the Man of the Year Award at the 2011 ANCA-WR Annual Banquet for his stalwart commitment to the Armenian Cause throughout his tenure in the U.S. Congress.
Most recently, under his stewardship as an original co-author, the Berman-Cicilline amendment was successfully adopted by the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 20 by a vote of 43-1.
The amendment called on the Republic of Turkey to end all forms of religious discrimination and allow the rightful owners of Christian church properties to organize and administer prayer services without hindrance or restriction. It further called for the return of these properties to their rightful owners.
“We are pleased to have Congresman Royce join us for this year’s banquet and welcome the opportunity to recognize him in the presence of hundreds of grassroots activists,” said Andrew Kzirian, Chairman of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors. “In honoring Congressman Royce, we are recognizing his unyielding support of Armenian American issues, particularly for his commitment to the Berman-Cicilline amendment. We commend his leadership in this bi-partisan effort which was an unfaltering step towards addressing the contemporary repercussions of the Armenian Genocide and a decisive victory for justice.”
The amendment was inspired by U.S. House Resolution 306 (H.Res.306) which was authored by Royce and Rep. Howard Berman (CA-28-D-North Hollywood), and was introduced by Berman and freshman Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01-D-Pawtucket). Royce as well as other Republicans and Democrats spoke in favor of the resolution.
Rep. Royce was unequivocal in the weeks leading to the passage of the amendment. “Conditions in Turkey have deteriorated with violent hate crimes increasingly linked to religion,” said Rep. Royce. “My resolution urges Turkey to protect its vulnerable religious minorities. They should be able to freely practice, worship and study their faith without fear of discrimination or violence. We expect Turkey to make good on its obligation to provide this protection.”
The ANCA-WR reached out to constituents living in the Congressional districts throughout the United States represented by House Foreign Affairs Committee members and urged them to contact their Members of Congress in support of the amendment.
Royce is the U.S. Representative for California’s 40th congressional district, and has served in Congress since 1993. His Orange County district encompasses portions of Stanton, Cypress, Buena Park, Fullerton, Anaheim, Placentia, and Orange.
In February 2010, Royce became the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian-American Issues, which comprises 140 U.S. legislators. At the time of his appointment, he noted that Armenia had “developed as a security and trade partner in a region that has proven hostile to the national interests of both [the United States and Armenia].”
The Annual Banquet will take place at the Universal Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, November 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Annual Banquet are $200, and discounted tickets are available to students with valid ID.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.