WATERTOWN, MA — ANCA Eastern Region activists and allies from across the country met with more than 50 members of Congress from both the House and Senate during the August recess, sounding the alarm on Azerbaijan’s genocidal blockade of Artsakh, which has gone on for more than 270 days.
Each year, during the August recess, senators and representatives return home to their respective states to visit with constituents in their districts, attend various community functions and tend to matters of their constituencies. The ANCA Eastern Region staff worked with its activists in 31 states throughout the region to ensure that they were poised to present the plight of Artsakh in every conversation with congressional members and staffers – raising the salience of the plight of Artsakh.
Activists shined the spotlight on the continued waiver of Section 907, which allows for the armament of Azerbaijan – despite the various human rights abuses by the Aliyev regime and the ongoing blockade of the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor, hindering the access of a vital lifeline to the Republic of Artsakh.
“Dedicated activists throughout the ANCA Eastern Region doubled down on their efforts this August recess – strengthening relationships with offices and, most importantly, conveying the urgent need for the United States government to take concrete steps to address the unfolding genocide in Artsakh and hold Azerbaijan accountable. We have no doubt that our continued advocacy on the Hill and within our communities demonstrates to our compatriots in Artsakh that they are not alone,” said Nairi Diratsouian, ANCA Eastern Region Legislative Affairs and Community Relations director.
Several other priorities were also discussed during the meetings including H.Res.108, which is sponsored by New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. and condemns Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh and the ongoing human rights violations; H.Res.320, introduced by California Representative Adam Schiff, which recognizes the independence of the Republic of Artsakh and provides background information of the Karabakh conflict and the reasons for independence; H.R.2803, spearheaded by California Representative Anna Eshoo, which aims to secure $10 million in funding to support Armenian Genocide education programs through the “Armenian Genocide Education Act”; and S.1329, sponsored by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, which expands upon H.R.2803 and is the counterpart of the previous legislation in the Senate.
Activists met with representatives from Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina. The activists met with: Rep. Lahood (IL); Rep. Pingree (ME); Rep. Sorensen (IL); Rep. Quigley (IL); Rep. Foushee (NC); Rep. Krishnamoorthi (IL); Rep. Casten (IL); Rep. Bishop (NC); Rep. Ross (NC); Senator Brown (OH); Rep. Kelly (IL); Senator Duckworth (IL); Rep. Pingree (ME); Rep. McGovern (CM); Rep. Pappas (NH); Rep. Trahan (MA); Rep. Rouzer (NC); Rep. Diaz-Balart (FL); Rep. Kuster (NH); Senator Markey (MA); Rep. Schneider (MA); Senator King (ME); Rep. Clarke (NY); Rep. Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Gottheimer (NJ); Senator Shaheen (NH); Senator Hassan (NH); Rep. Nadler (NY); Rep. Ruppersberger (MD); Rep. Magaziner (RI); Rep. Sarbanes (MD); Rep. Raskin (MD); Rep. Ivey (MD); Rep. Wasserman Schultz; Senator Scott (FL); Rep. Keating (MA); Senator Hawley (MO); Senator Schmitt (MO); Rep. Wagner (MO); Senator Whitehouse (RI); Senator Vance (OH); Rep. Thanedar (MI); Rep. Menendez (NJ); Rep. Moulton (MA); Senator Fetterman (PA); Senator Rubio (FL); Rep. Pascrell (NJ); Rep. Tonko (NY) and Rep. Sherill (NJ).
“As we continue to witness the ongoing genocidal siege and blockade of Artsakh, our region’s activists sounded the alarm and demanded action from our elected officials to provide for the Armenians of Artsakh. They have rallied Armenian Americans throughout the Eastern Region for Artsakh this August. I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to our dedicated activists who took the time out of their busy schedules to prioritize Artsakh – sharing stories of the blockade and its impact on the Armenian nation with representatives and senators from Florida to Ohio to North Carolina and beyond,” said Dr. Ara Chalian, ANCA Eastern Region Board chairman.