Washington, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) submitted testimony by Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related programs, urging Congress to help prevent a second Armenian Genocide. To that end, in its testimony the Assembly requested $100 million in assistance to Armenia, $50 million in assistance to Artsakh and $2 million in demining assistance, enforcement of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, as well as bolstering of the peace process. The Assembly's testimony comes on the heels of a letter, circulating in the House, spearheaded by Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) to the House State Foreign Operations Appropriates Subcommittee, that reinforces key congressional priorities for Armenia and Artsakh. The Assembly made clear its profound concerns about the humanitarian crisis surrounding Artsakh and is making these requests in the face of an impending genocide, "given the overwhelming passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the House in 2019, followed by the Senate the same year, [the Assembly] hopes Congress will do its part to prevent a second Armenian Genocide." The Assembly stated in its testimony that the assistance requested for Artsakh will "help protect a vulnerable Christian people as well as empower them to reconstruct their communities, rebuild their lives, and resettle in their homes." Due to Azerbaijan's unchecked anti-Armenian policies, providing aid will also serve "as an opportunity for the U.S. to have a presence in the region and sends an important message about America’s commitment to democratic governance in the face of autocrats that would like nothing more than to see democratic nations fall." Despite the trilateral statement signed in November 2020, which made it clear Azerbaijan had to "guarantee the security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the Lachin Corridor in both directions," Azerbaijan has once again defied an international accord and blocked the Lachin Corridor. The only roadway connecting Armenia and Artsakh, that once supplied hundreds of tons of essential goods to Artsakh Armenians, remains closed for the third month. The testimony also stressed that Azerbaijan has denied "any responsibility regarding the blockade, while the U.S. Administration has repeatedly called for it to be reopened." Regarding the request of $100 million to Armenia, the testimony states that the democratic country "continues to face existential threats" from the dictatorial Aliyev regime that now is also laying unfounded claim to the territories of the Republic of Armenia. The importance of ceasing military assistance to Azerbaijan and enforcing Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act was also underscored in the testimony, which highlighted Azerbaijan's "gross human rights violations during and after the 44-day war." "Azerbaijan should not be rewarded for its blatant and ongoing violations against the Armenian people, including the holding of prisoners of war (POWs) and captured civilians. In this regard, the Assembly strongly supports the inclusion of report language calling for the immediate release and repatriation of all POWs and captured civilians held by Azerbaijan," the testimony emphasized. The testimony concluded by urging the United States, a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, to bring stability and advance peace in the South Caucasus region, and to "uphold the fundamental principles of democracy, the right to self-determination, and the universal human rights of the people of Artsakh."
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.