Bi-Partisan Resolution Led By Rep. Pallone Calls For Immediate End to Azerbaijan’s Blockade on Lachin Corridor, Requests U.S. Humanitarian Assistance, and Condemns Aliyev’s Attempts at Ethnic Cleansing
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), along with Armenian Caucus leaders Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA), are spearheading a resolution condemning Azerbaijan‘s blockade of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) and ongoing human rights violations, calling on President Biden to immediately suspend U.S. military and security assistance to Azerbaijan and to fully enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and provide U.S. humanitarian and development assistance to the Armenian victims in Nagorno-Karabakh, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
The bipartisan resolution, which began circulating last week for original co-sponsors, states that “Azerbaijani forces [are] in violation of international obligations to resolve disputes with Armenia and Artsakh peacefully,” following their large-scale, unprovoked invasion of Artsakh in 2020.
The resolution states that “President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has used vitriolic rhetoric to call for the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and his regime has consistently violated important international humanitarian legal agreements during the 2020 war and up until the present date, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter, and the Geneva Convention.”
Evidence of Azerbaijan’s violations of international humanitarian law during the 2020 war – including rocket strikes on civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, the decapitation of civilians, the use of white phosphorus munitions, and the torture and killings of Armenian prisoners of war – are well-documented by reputable non-governmental organizations such as Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The resolution emphasizes that the November 2020 ceasefire statement that ended the 2020 war signed by Azerbaijan “clearly states in Article 6 that, ‘The Lachin Corridor (5 km wide), which will provide a connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia while not passing through the territory of Shusha, shall remain under the control of the Russian Federation peacemaking forces…The Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the Lachin Corridor in both directions.'”
Despite the Article, on December 12, 2022, “Azerbaijan created a man-made humanitarian crisis by implementing an extended blockade of the Lachin Corridor under the guise of a civilian protest” which has resulted in “dangerous, escalatory steps.”
The closure of the Lachin Corridor – which serves as a vital lifeline connecting the Republic of Artsakh to the Republic of Armenia – and its blockade prevents food, critical medical supplies, and other essentials from reaching 120,000 people, and has “severely worsened the quality of life for the people living in Artsakh, including 30,000 children, 20,000 elderly individuals, and 9,000 people with disabilities, including the sabotage of civilian infrastructures such as a critical natural gas pipeline, power transmission lines, and fixed-line internet.”
The U.S. Department of State has time and again warned that the “closure of the Lachin Corridor has severe humanitarian implications and sets back the peace process,” and publicly called “on the government of Azerbaijan to restore free movement through the corridor.”
In addition to condemning the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, calling for the immediate suspension of U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, and providing humanitarian aid, the resolution also encourages the U.S. and international community to petition the International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, or other appropriate international tribunals, “to take appropriate steps to investigate any and all war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani forces,” while also calling on the U.S. to deploy international observers to the Lachin Corridor and Artsakh “to explore opportunities for more effective and sustainable guarantees of security and peaceful development,” as well as “support U.S. sanctions under existing statutory authority against Azerbaijani officials responsible for the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh and other well-documented human rights violations committed against Armenians in the region.”
“The Assembly applauds the tireless efforts of the Armenian Caucus leadership to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its continuous human rights violations against the Armenian people of Artsakh, particularly as Azerbaijan’s blockade, which has spurred yet another humanitarian crisis, is in its seventh week,” said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. “We urge the U.S. and the international community to stop Azerbaijan’s attempts at ethnically cleansing the Armenian people and destabilizing the South Caucasus region for its own gain.”
Armenian Assembly of America Jacksonville Briefing
The Armenian Assembly of America invites you to a special community meeting and briefing on Friday, February 17, 2023, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm in Jacksonville, Florida, with Assembly Board Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian and Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. The meeting is hosted by Carl and Linda Bazarian, Assembly trustee members, and the Jacksonville Mission Parish Council led by Elmira Grigoryan, Chair and John Brooks, Vice Chair.
Anthony and Bryan will brief community members on the latest developments in Armenia and Artsakh, on U.S.-Armenia relations, and on the Assembly’s assessment of the 118th Congress following the election of new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Carl Bazarian, as a former Assembly Board Chair and current FAR (Fund for Armenian Relief) Board Vice Chair, will also offer his perspective on Armenian American advocacy.
The briefing is free and open to all community members. Young professionals and local college and high school students are encouraged to attend. Please pre-register for the Armenian Assembly Briefing here.
The Armenian Church of Jacksonville is located at 3900 Atlantic Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida 32207.
For questions about the event or 2023 Assembly membership, please contact Mary Jo Bazarian Murray, Director of Development and Membership, at email@example.com.
Watch ‘The Hidden Map’ on PBS in Florida This Weekend
Florida Armenians is pleased to announce that PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) will air the Armenian story THE HIDDEN MAP, giving all of us the rare opportunity not only to journey into the forbidden past, but to bring the continuing story to life for millions of viewers.
The film will premiere in Florida (Jacksonville, Ft. Myers-Naples, Miami, Tampa, and West Palm Beach) beginning on Saturday, June 11, 2022 and Sunday, June 12, 2022. See local listings below for viewing in your area.
THE HIDDEN MAP takes viewers beneath the surface of modern-day Turkey, where the forbidden Armenian past has been awaiting discovery for more than a century. The story comes to life as Ani Hovannisian, an American-Armenian granddaughter of genocide survivors, ventures to their lost ancestral homeland in search of long-buried truths. A chance encounter with a Scottish explorer, Steven Sim, leads to a joint odyssey unearthing sacred relics, silenced voices, daring resilience and the hidden map. The result is a story of discovery, heartbreak and hope that belongs to all of humanity.
Produced by Storydoc Productions, THE HIDDEN MAP is directed, produced, written and edited by Ani Hovannisian.
PBS made the historic decision to distribute this independent film to more than 300 stations nationwide both because it recognizes the power of the film and because during its Southern California debut viewers responded with an outpouring of support.
With its national release, viewers who pledge even a nominal amount in support of PBS’s broadcasts of THE HIDDEN MAP will not only help secure additional airings on a national stage, but will receive unique gifts, including exclusive hand-crocheted dolls made by women in Goris, Armenia– some of them displaced citizens of Artsakh who are supported each time a viewer requests a doll.
This is an unprecedented moment in history when we can all easily help to bring this human story of heartbreak, discovery and hope into the homes and consciousness of millions of Americans, while touching the lives of Armenians today.
An American-Armenian granddaughter of exiled genocide survivors dares to venture to their lost ancestral homeland to uncover long-buried truths. During her travels, she meets a lone Scottish explorer who had stumbled upon this mysterious land of secrets years earlier. Together the duo digs beneath the surface of modern-day Turkey, discovering sacred relics, silenced voices, fearless resilience, and the hidden map.
The documentary premiered nationwide on NBCLX in April 2021, coinciding with the U.S.’ official recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Overwhelming audience and critical response prompted nine encore broadcasts. It was also the top broadcast on PBS SoCal and KCET in December, ushering in more screenings in 2022. THE HIDDEN MAP has earned more than a dozen honors at international film festivals and was considered for three 2021 Primetime Emmys.
More information is available at thehiddenmap.com and pbs.org.