ARMENIAN GENOCIDE PLAYED CENTRAL ROLE IN THE DEBATE OVER THE 1986 US RATIFICATION AND 1988 IMPLEMENTATION OF GENOCIDE CONVENTION
WASHINGTON–DC–Armenian American support for Senate legislation (S.Res.307) commemorating United States participation in the Genocide Convention follows in the long tradition of community-wide advocacy for legislative measures to help ensure that the terrible lessons of the Armenian Genocide are put to use in preventing future genocide against the Armenia’s or any other people–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
In the four decades leading up to the 1986 Senate ratification and the 1988 formal US implementation of the Convention–Armenian Americans actively encouraged US legislators to adopt this landmark human rights treaty. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN)–a central figure in the ratification of the Convention–in remarks on the Senate floor immediately prior its ratification in 1986–stressed his appreciation for "the work of the Armenian National Committee," noting that–"the convention has a special meaning for Americans of Armenian descent. I know they are particularly pleased by today’s vote."
The Armenian Genocide–and the Turkish government’s denial of this crime–figured prominently throughout the Senate ratification process in February of 1986 and its implementation in October of 1988.
Among the many Congressional hearings held in the years preceding US ratification of the Convention was one in May of 1976 by the Subcommittee on Future Foreign Policy Research and Development of the House International Relations Committee. The hearing investigated specific instances of genocide and considered the US position on ratification of the Convention. The Subcommittee examined the contemporary implications of the Armenian Genocide– taking testimony from Levon Sarkisian of the Armenian National Committee; Professor Vahakn Dadrian; Professor Dennis Papazian; Dicran Simsarian of the Armenian Rights Movement–Professor Richard Hovannisian–Professor Shavarsh Toriguian–and Professor Avedis Sanjian.
Excerpts of the Congressional debate over the Genocide Convention will be printed in full in the upcoming Saturday edition of Asbarez.