LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Announces Support for H. Res. 106

ANTONIO R. VILLARAIGOSA
Office of the Mayor
200 N. Spring St.
Room 303
City of Los Angeles, Ca 90012

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Janelle Erickson
February 14, 2007
(213) 978-0741

MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA ANNOUNCES HIS SUPPORT FOR H. RES. 106 AND CITY OF
LOS ANGELES DIVESTMENT FROM SUDAN

The City of Los Angeles is divesting over $27 million of its
retirement and pension funds from companies aiding the government of
Sudan and rebel groups in the country.

LOS ANGELES – Adding its voice to the international cry to stop the
genocide in Darfur, today Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with city
leaders and human rights activists, announced that the City of Los
Angeles is divesting over $27 million of its pension investments from
companies aiding the government of Sudan and its rebel groups.

`Today the City of Los Angeles is adding its voice to the
international outcry over the genocide in Darfur,’ Mayor Villaraigosa
said. `With the hope of savings lives, the City of Los Angeles is
divesting its holdings from Sudan. We must stand for freedom and
basic human rights for all and we must do everything possible to stop
the killing in Darfur.’

The City of Los Angeles has over $27 million invested in companies who
support the Sudanese government or rebel groups through its employee
pension and retirement funds. These companies have been researched
and identified by the University of California Regents.

The Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System (LACERS) will be
divesting $18 million in holdings of 2 companies. The Police and Fire
Pensions will divest $7.5 million in holdings of 2 companies, and the
Department of Water and Power pension funds will divest $1.8 million
in holdings with 4 companies.

Since July 2003, the genocide in Darfur has been fueled by an ongoing
armed conflict between the Janjaweed militia group and the non-Baggara
people of the region. The Sudanese government, while publicly denying
that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided money and assistance to
the group and has participated in joint attacks systematically
targeting the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups in Darfur.

According to the United Nations, over 400,000 Darfurian civilians have
perished with an estimated 2.5 million people being displaced from
their homes due to violence. Nearly 4 million are now reliant on
humanitarian aid, and 90% of Darfur’s villages have been looted or
destroyed.

On July 23, 2004, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
unanimously adopted a joint resolution declaring the atrocities in
Darfur to be genocide.

Darfur is located in the western region of Sudan. Sudan is the
largest country in Africa with a population of 41 million people.

Mayor Villaraigosa today also released a letter to the Speaker of the
House, Nancy Pelosi, stating his support for House Resolution 106.

Introduced by Congressman Adam Schiff on January 30, 2007, H.Res 106
places the House of Representatives on record as labeling the Armenian
Genocide as genocide. The Resolution would ensure that U.S. foreign
policy reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning
issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing and genocide – and
ensure that the U.S. record accurately characterizes the systematic
and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.

# # #

Letter to Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi

February 14, 2007

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
The Capitol, H-232
Washington, DC 20515

Re: H.Res. 106 – Armenian Genocide Recognition

Madame Speaker:

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 was the first government-planned and
orchestrated genocide of the 20th century and a precursor to the
Jewish Holocaust and numerous other acts of inhumanity. As Mayor of
the City of Los Angeles, the home of the largest population of
Armenians outside of Armenia, it is my honor and pleasure to add my
name to the growing list of supporters of House Resolution 106, which
would officially place the U.S. House of Representatives on record as
recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Just recently, Hrant Dink, a prominent voice of truth and justice in
Turkey was brutally assassinated because he spoke openly and frankly
about the Armenian Genocide. Dink, the editor of Agos newspaper in
Istanbul, was silenced because he advocated for official Turkish
recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I can think of no better way to
honor his memory and his struggle, along with the memory of over 1.5
million men, women, and children, than for the House of
Representatives to pass this resolution.

Gideon Hausner, the main prosecutor at the war crimes trial of Adolf
Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961, stated, `No one can demand that you be
neutral toward the crime of genocide. If there is a judge in the whole
world who can be neutral toward this crime, that judge is not fit to
sit in judgment’. As a beacon of light and hope for millions around
the world, the United States should no longer remain neutral toward
this crime against humanity.

For over 90 years now the psyche of the Armenian people has not been
able to heal due to the constant denial and distortion of the Armenian
Genocide by the Republic of Turkey. It is morally unacceptable for
the United States to not properly recognize this terrible chapter of
history and I hope that you can bring this resolution to a full vote
at the earliest possible time.

Very truly yours,

ANTONIO R. VILLARAIGOSA
Mayor

ARV:ai

Areen Ibranossian
Policy Analyst
Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa

[email protected]
(213) 922-9781

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