Durbin Statement On Reports That President Biden Will Declare World War I-Era Killings Armenian Genocide

Last month, Durbin and colleagues called on the President to join Congress in officially recognizing the Ottoman Empire's genocide against the Armenian people

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement regarding reports that President Joe Biden is preparing to declare the Ottoman Empire’s killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenian civilians an act of genocide.  Last month, Durbin joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in requesting the Biden Administration join the U.S. Congress in officially recognizing this genocide against the Armenian people.  Durbin is also the sponsor and cosponsor of multiple Senate resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide (S Res 140 in 114th Congress; S Res 410 in 113th Congress; S Res 106 in 110th Congress; and S Res 320 in 109th Congress).  To date, no U.S. president has made it U.S. policy to affirm the historical facts of the Armenian genocide.

“It is time to end this tragic charade.  The Ottoman Empire killed more than one million Armenians.  It was a genocide that every Armenian I know has learned about from his or her parents or grandparents.  Acknowledging this historic atrocity is no reflection on today’s Turkey, only those who refuse to admit its reality.”

In 2012, Durbin traveled to Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia where he held high-level meetings on regional political dynamics and security issues.  While in Yerevan, Armenia, Durbin met with President Serzh Azati Sargsyan and senior U.S. officials.  Durbin also visited the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.

Durbin is also a lead author of the Haiti and Armenia Reforestation Act, which would authorize the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Forest Service to provide financial assistance and technical resources to support reforestation in both countries. Centuries of deforestation in Haiti and Armenia have lowered land productivity, negatively impacted water quality, and exacerbated the effects of natural disasters.  This bill would contribute to reversing those trends by creating economic benefits for local communities through reforestation and from the sustainable uses of forests.