Washington, D.C. - A series of ten key human rights and accountability amendments were submitted to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, known as bill H.R. 4350, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The proposed amendments express serious concerns over human rights violations on a global scale, as well as address security and humanitarian issues resulting from Azerbaijan's 44-day war against Artsakh. Chairman of the House Rules Committee James McGovern (D-MA) sponsored Amendment #655, which "modifies the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Subtitle F of title XXI of PL 114-328) to authorize sanctions for serious human rights abuse, any violation of internationally recognized human rights, or corruption; adds two new reports to Congress; and repeals the sunset." Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sponsored Amendment #560, cosponsored by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), which "expresses the Sense of Congress that the government of Azerbaijan should immediately return all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians. Urges the Administration to engage with Azerbaijani authorities, including through the OSCE Minsk Group, to make clear the importance of adhering to their obligations under the November 9 statement and international law to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians." Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) sponsored Amendment #408, a bipartisan amendment cosponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), which "requires a report within 180 days of all US humanitarian and developmental assistance programs in Nagorno Karabakh, including an analysis of the effectiveness of such programs and any plans for future assistance." Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) sponsored Amendment #579, which "requires a report by the Secretary of State on the activities of the Grey Wolves organization (AKA Bozkurtlar & Ülkü Ocaklari) undertaken against U.S. interests, allies, and international partners, including a review of the criteria met for designation as a foreign terrorist organization." Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) sponsored Amendment #586, cosponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), which "creates a report on Azerbaijan's activities in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020 to be submitted to the relevant congressional committees by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State." Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) sponsored Amendment #696, which "requires the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to submit to the congressional defense committees a report on Azerbaijan." These amendments are in addition to the following that were submitted yesterday: Amendment #52 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), stipulates that "no Federal funds may be obligated or expended to provide any United States military or security assistance or cooperation to the defense or security forces of the Government of Azerbaijan." Amendment #90 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), "prohibits the transfer of United States security assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan." Amendment #122 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), "withholds U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan through the Section 333 Building Partner Capacity Program." Amendment #123 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), "requires a report from the Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary of State, addressing allegations that some units of foreign countries that have participated in security cooperation programs under section 333 of title 10, U.S.C. may have also committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights before or while receiving U.S. security assistance. This report would also include recommendations to improve human rights training and additional measures that can be adopted to prevent these types of violations." "The Armenian Assembly of America welcomes these ten key human rights and accountability amendments," stated Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "In the aftermath of the 44-day war launched against the people of Artsakh, these amendments address critically important issues and we urge their adoption," added Ardouny. The House Rules Committee will likely meet during the week of September 20, 2021 to review hundreds of amendments to the Fiscal Year 2022 NDAA (H.R. 4350). The Armenian Assembly strongly supports and urges the aforementioned amendments be "made in order."
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.