07/23/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 22, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the State Department Appropriations Act ceasing the delivery of military aid to Azerbaijan on account of the human rights abuses of Azerbaijan during its war last year against Armenia. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who serves as a Co-Chair of the Armenian Caucus, proposed the amendment to curb Azerbaijan’s aggression in the region against Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh).
The bill also provides $50 million to Armenia, the oldest Christian nation in the world, allowing some of those funds to address the ongoing needs of the people of Artsakh. ICC staff recently traveled to Artsakh to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground and celebrates this meaningful step in combatting the humanitarian crisis created by the war last year. ICC recently published a report entitled, Nagorno-Karabakh: A Humanitarian Perspective, outlining these needs.
“Amidst ongoing Azerbaijani aggression in the region, I am proud this funding bill includes unprecedented support for Armenia and sends a clear signal to Azerbaijan that the United States will not tolerate authoritarian regimes that threaten peace and stability. I was also pleased to see language included directing the State Department and USAID to fund life-saving demining efforts in Artsakh,” said Pallone. “I applaud this important step that will help bolster Armenia’s democracy, improve economic development, and help alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attack on Armenia. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Congressional Armenian Caucus to ensure the United States stands ready to invest in Armenia and build on our strategic partnership.”
Azerbaijan, alongside Turkish-paid Syrian mercenaries, attacked Artsakh last September and fought a 44-day war with Armenia to seize control of much of the territory, which is overwhelmingly comprised of ethnic Armenians who are predominantly Christian. Azeri soldiers and Turkish mercenaries have been documented committing several war crimes against Armenian civilians and soldiers, some of which are listed in ICC’s report on the war, The Anatomy of Genocide: Karabakh’s Forty-Four Day War.
Since the end of the war, Azerbaijan continues a campaign to erase the rich Christian heritage of Artsakh by dismantling churches and religious sites, while also leaving many residents of Artsakh in a dire humanitarian situation.
In response to the passage of the new amendment, ICC’s Director of Advocacy, Matias Perttula, commended Rep. Pallone and the House on the achievement. “ICC welcomes the passage of the Pallone Amendment ceasing military aid from the U.S. to Azerbaijan and providing funds for humanitarian work in Artsakh. Azerbaijan needs to be held accountable for their crimes during last year’s war and for the humanitarian crisis they have created in Artsakh. We hope this passage will work to serve the people of Artsakh and ICC will continue to address the needs of the community there.”
For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected]