The bill was authored by the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Eduard Sharmazanov; the leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) parliamentary faction Armen Rustamyan; as well as Parliament members Hovhannes Sahakyan, Edmon Marukyan, Arpine Hovhannisyan, Tevan Poghosyan, Gurgen Arsenyan, Heghine Bisharyan, Alexander Arzumanyan, Vahram Baghdasaryan, Hermine Naghdalyan, Margarit Yesayan, and Lyudmila Sargsyan.
The Assyrian Genocide Monument in Yerevan
Speaking to reporters on March 23, Sharmazanov explained that by condemning the Assyrian and Greek Genocides, Armenia was standing in solidarity with the two nations. “By submitting the draft as a declaration on condemnation, we want to show society and our Greek and and Assyrian brothers and sisters and the international community that the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and all the political forces attach importance to [the] condemnation of the genocide perpetrated against the Greeks and Assyrians,” said Sharmazanov.
Sabri Atman, the director of the Assyrian Genocide Research Center, commended the National Assembly of Armenia in a statement published by the Assyrian International News Agency. “We salute the Republic of Armenia for its decision to recognize the Assyrian and Greek Genocide. This encourages us and gives us strength to be recognized internationally,” said Atman.
In a 2014 interview with the Armenian Weekly, Atman stressed the importance of recognition and criticized the Armenian government for not taking a strong stance on the issue. “Denial is a form of continuation of the genocide. It is to be killed twice. Failure to recognize the genocide has led to even more genocides against Assyrians in their homeland. We Assyrians also don’t understand the fact that the Republic of Armenia has not recognized the Assyrian Genocide yet,” Atman said in the interview.
The resolution comes a little over a month after the government of Armenia approved a motion declaring Dec. 9 as a “Day of Remembrance of Victims of All Genocides.” The resolution, which passed on Feb. 12, was introduced “to remedy historical injustices, protect human rights, and struggle against Turkey’s genocide denial policy,” according to Heritage Party member and motion co-author Zaruhi Postanjyan.
From 1915-23, an estimated 300,000 Assyrians and 500,000 Greeks were systematically killed by the Ottoman-Turkish government.