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HR-62 (2019-2020)

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HR62:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  August 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

House Resolution
No. 62


Introduced by Assembly Member Flora

August 27, 2019


Relative to Assyrian Remembrance Day.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


HR 62, as amended, Flora.

WHEREAS, Assyrians are a people who have lived in the Middle East since ancient times, including in what is today Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria; and
WHEREAS, Assyrians, also known as Chaldeans and “Syriacs,” live all over the world, and there are more than 500,000 in the United States, including many in California; and

WHEREAS, In August 1933, Raphael Lemkin learned the news of the massacre in Simele, in which 63 Assyrian villages in the Dohuk and Mosul districts of modern day Iraq were attacked by the nascent Iraqi Army and irregular Kurdish and Arab forces. Approximately 6,000 Assyrians were brutally murdered. Lemkin cited the Simele massacre that was organized by the Iraqi Army alongside the systematic genocide of Armenians organized by the Ottoman Turks and the Holocaust when Lemkin and other jurists developed the legal concept of “genocide”; and

WHEREAS, From 1914 to 1918, hundreds of thousands of Assyrian men, women, and children were massacred and their properties confiscated during the Assyrian Genocide, also known as the Seyfo Genocide, as well as hundreds of thousands of Greeks and 1,500,000 Armenians as part of the planned complete eradication of those indigenous communities by the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the first modern genocide that still requires justice; and
WHEREAS, California is a global leader in human rights, particularly by recognizing and providing legal remedies for crimes against humanity during the period from 1915 to 1923, when many persons of Armenian ancestry residing in what was then the Ottoman Empire were victims of massacre, torture, starvation, death marches, and exile, an episode known to historians as the “Armenian Genocide”; and
WHEREAS, Near East relief efforts, with the active participation of the United States, resulted in delivering an unprecedented $117,000,000 of assistance from the American people between 1915 and 1930 that directly resulted in the salvation of Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Christians from being annihilated by genocide; and
WHEREAS, Other cases of genocide include the ethnic cleansing and genocide against Yezidis, Assyrians, and other Christians in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East; and
WHEREAS, The United States House of Representatives adopted H. Con. Res. No. 75 in March 14, 2016, declaring the atrocities perpetrated and war crimes committed by ISIL against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria as crimes against humanity and genocide; and
WHEREAS, This year marks the 104th anniversary of the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek genocide of 1915, which was committed by Ottoman Turks, yet Turkey, still, to this day, has not recognized this genocide that took the lives of more than 2,000,000 people. Iraq has also not recognized the Simele massacre, which was carried out by the Iraqi Army in August 1933; and
WHEREAS, In 2006, the European Parliament urged Turkey to recognize the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek genocide and to facilitate scholars’ access to the historical archives and “all relevant documents”; and
WHEREAS, In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) formally recognized the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek genocides; and
WHEREAS, The number of survivors of the genocide period between 1915 and 1923 is dwindling, and it is appropriate for California to recognize the tragedy that befell these survivors a century ago; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assyrian Genocide of 1915, also known as the Seyfo Genocide, as well as the Simele massacre, are recognized by the Assembly of the State of California as crimes against humanity, and that the Assembly of the State of California hereby recognizes August 7, 2019, as Assyrian Remembrance Day; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.