Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar has come under fire for refusing to back Tuesday’s House vote on recognizing the early 20th-century Armenian Genocide, which passed the chamber by 405 to 11 votes with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Responding to the criticism, Omar released a statement explaining her stance and suggesting that votes to acknowledge historic human rights abuses should not be a political weapon, used as a stick against America’s opponents.
Omar said that while she believes that accountability for human rights abuses is “paramount,” she also believes that “accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as a cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics.”
If Congress truly wishes to acknowledge historic crimes against humanity, Omar added, it should look closer to home.
She argued that such a step “must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and the Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of people in this country.” For this reason, Omar said she voted “present” on the bill.