Beverly Hills, California
Hundreds of activists, community leaders, public officials, supporters, and generous donors attended the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region’s Grassroots Luncheon hosted at the Beverly Hilton on November 21, where Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Dr. Arman Tatoyan was bestowed the ANCA-WR’s “Human Rights Champion” Award for his tireless work in upholding the rights of the Armenian people.
ANCA-WR is a leading Armenian-American organization for a two-week hosted Dr. Tatoyan delegation trip to engage with community stakeholders, elected officials, academic circles, coalition partners as well as local and national media to provide a briefing on the current situation, including presenting on his latest reports on Azerbaijan’s torture and abuse of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives.
Immediately prior to the luncheon, Dr. Tatoyan participated in a press conference where he briefed local and community media on Azerbaijan’s November 16 incursion and assault on the Republic of Armenia which resulted in the deaths of at least 8 Armenian servicemembers and the capture of at least a dozen more – whom international human rights organizations have already noted have been subject to abuse and torture. Dr. Tatoyan also briefed the media on the status of prisoners of war, and ongoing international legal efforts – specifically, through Armenia’s trial against Azerbaijan at the International Court of Justice over its violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The press conference was followed by the outdoor luncheon held at the iconic Beverly Hilton Hotel, which began with an invocation delivered by the Very Reverend Muron Aznikian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and opening remarks welcoming dignitaries and honored guests delivered by ANCA-WR Board Member Lina Davidian Esq.
Following the video presentation, ANCA-WR Board Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. took to the stage and thanked all the generous donors whose support and encouragement continue to inspire the ANCA-WR team, and especially the event sponsors, Mr. & Mrs. Varant and Hoori Melkonian, for their unwavering support. In delivering the organizational message, Hovsepian emphasized the need for the Armenian-American community to remain laser-focused in its mission to ensure the security of the Armenian nation.
ANCA-WR Vice-Chair Raffi Kassabian Esq., Presenting the ANCA-WR’s “Human Rights Champion” Award to Dr. Tatoyan was who highlighted the honoree’s tireless pursuit of justice in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. “Dr. Tatoyan is the embodiment of courage. When others in government turned a blind eye, Dr. Tatoyan demanded accountability from the perpetrator regime. When others acquiesced to the defeat to the enemy after the 44-day war, Dr. Tatoyan raised alarms in the international community to invoke justice,” Kassabian remarked.
“And when Azerbaijan attempted to sweep its heinous genocidal conduct under the rug, Dr. Tatoyan pointedly engaged in a fact-finding mission to expose Azerbaijan for what it is – a modern-day genocidal regime,” Kassabian continued.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Tatoyan reported on Azerbaijan’s recent assault on the Armenian people, highlighting how Azerbaijan’s state-sponsored Armenophobia serves as a driving force behind Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against the Armenian people. Dr. Tatoyan also sent a strong message to the Diaspora, thanking the community for its vigilance in advocating for the rights of the people of Armenia – and urging unity in the face of Azerbaijan and Turkey’s efforts to sow artificial divisions between the Armenian people. In thanking the ANCA-WR for hosting him in California, Dr. Tatoyan issued a certificate of recognition to Nora Hovsepian on behalf of the ANCA-WR Board for the organization’s tireless advocacy work. Certificates of recognition were also issued to distinguished legal experts Garo Ghazarian, Esq. and Karnig Kerkonian, Esq. for their critical contributions to holding Turkey and Azerbaijan accountable for the egregious human rights abuses perpetrated against the Armenian people under international law and for their steadfast support and collaboration with of the office of Armenia’s Human Rights Defender.