Only Armenian/Assyrian in Congress Applauds House Genocide Resolution

By Barbara Hollingsworth | March 16, 2016 | 2:56pm EDT
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East. (AP photo)


Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the only Member of Congress of Assyrian and Armenian descent, applauded the unanimous approval of a resolution declaring that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is committing genocide against Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities, calling its passage “a seminal moment” for the House of Representatives.

“The U.S. House of Representatives sent a message around the world by declaring the atrocities being committed against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria is an act of genocide.

"This is a seminal moment for the House to have taken up the resolution and passed it unanimously,” Eshoo, a founding member and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East, said in a statement to

“The passage of this resolution is deeply meaningful to me as the only Member of Congress of Assyrian and Armenian descent. This genocide is a repeat of what my family endured. My grandparents were being persecuted and hunted down in the Middle East because they were Christians.

“I pray for the day that there will be peace in the region so that these ancient faith communities will be safe in their ancestral homeland. The stability and the cultural identity of the Middle East depend on this,” Eshoo said.

The State Department is required by law to present a report to Congress on Thursday that determines whether the ongoing atrocities committed by ISIS meet the legal definition of genocide as defined by the U.N. Convention on Genocide, which the United States and other countries signed in 1948.

In a video released on April 23, 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Rep. Eshoo said that her own family members were victims of a “systematic and deliberate annihilation” of Christians in the Middle East.

“One hundred years ago, the world bore witness to the systematic and deliberate annihilation of one and a half million Armenians and other minorities by the Ottoman Empire. Men, women and children were killed, shot, beaten, tortured, starved, raped and death-marched, amongst them members of my own family,” Eshoo said.

“Why? Because they were Armenians and they were Christians.”

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