Updated: Oct 5
Washington, D.C. - A letter spearheaded by Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), addressed to President Biden urging sanctions against Azerbaijan, humanitarian aid, and ensuring the safety of the Armenian people, was supported by 75 Members of Congress, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The letter outlined Azerbaijan's "unprovoked military offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh" on September 19 "in an attempt to subjugate the region's ethnically Armenian population by force," that resulted in a day-long vicious attack, causing the displacement of thousands of civilians and over 200 deaths. This assault followed a nine-month blockade that created a man-made humanitarian crisis and denied 120,000 Armenians access to food and medicine, among other essentials. "We believe the United States must make clear to Azerbaijan that its unprovoked aggression against Artsakh is unacceptable and will be met with an appropriate response," the letter stated. "Azerbaijan's assault and subjugation of Artsakh has left the region's Armenian population with no option but to flee, fearing for their future under Azerbaijan's brutal authoritarian rule," the letter continued. Citing leading scholars on genocide and atrocities, including Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the letter emphasized that the "U.S. has a moral obligation to do whatever is necessary to bring an end to this needless suffering and ensure Azerbaijan faces consequences for engaging in ethnic cleansing," and requested from the Biden Administration enforcement of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, "a provision of current law that prohibits U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan, and impose targeted sanctions on Azerbaijani officials under the Global Magnitsky Act to make clear to Azerbaijan that its aggression will not be tolerated." Providing "robust humanitarian assistance to support Artsakh's displaced population" was also outlined, as well as shoring up support from the international community to initiate an international humanitarian relief operation. Finally, the letter underscored the importance of taking proper actions to "ensure the safe evacuation of Artsakh's population to Armenia, including through the immediate deployment of observers to the Lachin Corridor, as well as direct engagement with Azerbaijani authorities to secure amnesty for Artsakh's local leaders." "The Assembly welcomes the continued efforts by Congress, including this initiative by Speaker Emerita Pelosi and Congresswoman Eshoo on the critically important need for the U.S. to take decisive action, including sanctioning Azerbaijan for its crimes against humanity," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. Last week, at the Assembly's tribute for former Secretary of the Navy Paul Ignatius, Speaker Emerita Pelosi and Rep. Eshoo, who headlined the event, highlighted the importance of persevering in their efforts on Capitol Hill "to move the needle" when it comes to aiding the Armenian people of Artsakh and holding Azerbaijan accountable. The letter was cosigned by Representatives Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Robert Garcia (D-CA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Morgan McGarvey (D-KY), Kevin Mullin (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Paul Tonko (D-NY), David Valadao (R-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Lou Correa (D-CA), Daniel Goldman (D-NY), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Susie Lee (D-NV), John Larson (D-CT), Mike Levin (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Katie Porter (D-CA), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Sean Casten (D-IL), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Susan Wild (D-PA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Nikema Williams (D-GA).
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.