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Letter to President Biden Urges Additional Humanitarian Assistance For Armenian People



Washington, D.C. - An Assembly-backed letter spearheaded by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jack Reed (D-RI), addressed to President Joe Biden, urged the Administration to provide additional humanitarian assistance to help the Armenian people, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).


The letter - which noted that while USAID and the State Department have allocated over $15 million for Armenia in fiscal years 2023 and 2024 - emphasizes that "additional aid is necessary to meet the urgent needs of the Armenian refugee population from Nagorno-Karabakh" in the wake of the 120,000 Armenians who were forcibly driven from their ancestral homes in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of Azerbaijan's campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing. 


The letter underscored that the displaced are in "urgent need of assistance, including food, basic staples, cash, housing, mental health counseling, and employment aid."


"Our understanding is that the Armenian government may require up to $2 billion in additional urgent humanitarian assistance to provide ongoing resources for the refugee population and ensure that basic needs are met," the letter continued. "We respectfully request that the United States contribute a sizable amount of this funding requirement and work to encourage other international donors and organizations to respond in kind."


The letter concluded by reflecting on the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and the importance to "ensure that the persecution of ethnic Armenians never takes place again." To that end, it's imperative that the U.S. provides additional humanitarian aid and economic support to Armenia, bolsters U.S.-Armenia ties, and holds "Azerbaijan accountable, including the possible imposition of sanctions for any human rights violations that took place during the ethnic cleansing of Armenians."


"We strongly support this initiative for additional humanitarian assistance for the Armenians of Artsakh who faced ethnic cleansing and were forcibly driven from their homes," said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. "We urge the Administration to increase humanitarian assistance to the Armenian people and to hold Azerbaijan responsible for its human rights violations."


The letter was signed by Senators Whitehouse and Reed and cosigned by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Gary Peters (D-MI), John Fetterman (D-PA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King, Jr. (D-ME), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).


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.


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NR# 2024-22



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