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Petition to recognize Armenian Genocide on White House website

Petition to recognize Armenian Genocide on White House website

PanARMENIAN.Net - A petition demanding the Obama administration to recognize the Armenian Genocide was posted on We the People White House petitions webpage.

The petition reads, "99 years of denial. 1.5 million Armenians massacred. 1915 Genocide still not recognized."

With 100000 signatures to be collected by March 1, 2014, the petition will be submitted to the U.S. authorities.

As Armenian information security expert Samvel Martorosyan noted in his blog, on the same day the petition was posted (January 30), the U.S. Armenians launched an educational initiative on Twitter, with the participants tagging their posts #ArmenianGenocide. As a result of the initiatives hash tag #ArmenianGenocide was named among the most discussed in the U.S.

We the People is a section of the whitehouse.gov website, launched September 22, 2011, for petitioning the current administration's policy experts. Petitions that meet a certain threshold of signatures will be reviewed by officials in the Administration and an official response will be issued. The choice of the webpage name was not random: 'We the People' are the first words of the U.S. constitution.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama continues calling the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century," again and again breaking a 2008 campaign promise to label the tragedy a "genocide."

In 2013, the Obama Administration urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal of the Ninth Circuit's 2012 decision striking down a California law extending the statute of limitations on Armenian Genocide-era life insurance claims.

"President Obama, rather than filing a brief based on the merits of this case, chose instead - on the eve of Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Washington, DC - to send Ankara a political gift by both deepening his Administration's complicity in the denial of the Armenian Genocide and also obstructing justice for American citizens seeking redress through the U.S. courts," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We will, despite the President's retreat from principle, persevere in the pursuit of the justice owed the Armenian nation."

In a 27-page brief submitted to the Supreme Court, the U.S. Solicitor General argues that the California law improperly allows courts "to issue judgments based on politically contentious events that occurred in the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago, with no substantial basis to claim that it is regulating in an area of its traditional authority."

It also makes reference to selective Executive branch opposition to Armenian Genocide legislation, but not the U.S. record of recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a crime of genocide, including:

1) The U.S. Government's May 28, 1951 written statement to the International Court of Justice regarding the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in which the "Turkish massacres of Armenians" is cited among other "outstanding examples of the crime of genocide"

2) President Ronald Reagan's April 22, 1981 Proclamation number 4838; in which he stated, in part, "like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians, which followed it - and like too many other persecutions of too many other people - the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten."

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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