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U.S. legislators urge Turkey to Return Stolen Christian Property.

ICC Note: Legislators in America are seeking to prevent future Persecution by Turkish citizens.

6/15/2011Turkey(PanARMENIAN.Net)-A bipartisan group of U.S. legislators are set to introduce two resolutions in support of a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, including a new measure specifically pressing Turkey to fully respect the rights of Christians to practice their faith in freedom, including through the rightful return of confiscated churches to Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Pontians, Arameans (Syriacs) and other Christians communities, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Return of Churches resolution, spearheaded by senior House Foreign Affairs Committee member Ed Royce (R-CA) and the panel’s Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA), calls upon the government of Turkey to honor its international obligations end all forms of religious persecution and to protect the rights and religious freedoms of Christians. The measure specifically calls upon Turkey to return confiscated Christian church properties.

The Armenian Genocide Resolution, introduced by Congressmen Robert Dold (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), calls upon the President to recognize the Armenian Genocide and encourages the U.S. government to apply the lessons of this tragedy to prevent future crimes against humanity. This measure, identical to H.Res.252 during the previous session of Congress, has been adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee four times over the past eleven years, but has yet to reach the floor for an up-or-down vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives.

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“Conditions in Turkey have deteriorated with violent hate crimes increasingly linked to religion,” explained Rep. Royce. “My resolution urges Turkey to protect its vulnerable religious minorities.

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Rep. Berman concurred, noting, “By expropriating church properties, harassing worshippers, and refusing to grant full legal status to some Christian groups, Turkey has failed to fulfill its obligation as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which requires ‘freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.’ Turkey must end its deeply disturbing practice of religious discrimination, cease all restrictions on gatherings for religious prayer and education, and return stolen church property.”

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“Ninety-six years ago 1.5 million people were killed simply because they were Armenian.”

“The facts of history are clear, well documented and non-negotiable – 1.5 million Armenians were deliberately murdered in the first genocide of the 20th century,” explained Rep. Schiff. “If we are to prevent future atrocities, we must condemn genocide whenever and wherever it occurs.”

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