Stepanyan and Beglaryan Advocate for Rights and Safe Return of Artsakh’s Armenians

  • 16.02.2024
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Artsakh Human Rights Defender and Former State Minister Complete Two Week Visit to Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC – Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Gegham Stepanyan and former State Minister Artak Beglaryan concluded a two-week advocacy mission to Washington, DC that called on U.S. Congressional leaders, Administration officials, and a broad array of faith-based and human rights groups to hold Azerbaijan accountable for the genocide against Artsakh’s 150,000 indigenous Armenian Christians and to provide support to refugees as mechanisms are explored to ensure their safe return to the homes from which they were forcibly displaced.

The ANCA joined with Stepanyan and Beglaryan in over 60 meetings and briefings with Congressional offices, coinciding with the introduction of two resolutions that would cut military aid to Azerbaijan’s genocidal regime, holding Azerbaijan accountable for its crimes.

Stepanyan and Beglaryan offered eye-witness accounts of the brutal realities of Azerbaijan’s ten-month blockade of Artsakh, which culminated in the September 2023 genocidal attack that forcibly emptied Artsakh of its indigenous Armenian population. In addition to the passage of the latest legislation urging an end to U.S. support for Azerbaijan’s genocidal actions, the Artsakh people’s advocates urged:

— Sanctions on Azerbaijan, including the enforcement of Section 907 and the application of Magnitsky sanctions on Aliyev government officials for war crimes and ethnic cleansing committed during the 2020 Azerbaijan-Turkey attacks against Armenia and Artsakh and subsequent genocidal aggression.

— U.S. aid for Artsakh’s forcibly displaced Armenians, including housing and job placement assistance, until a secure mechanism can be put in place through international oversight and mediation with Artsakh authorities to guarantee the safe and dignified return of forcibly displaced Armenians to their Artsakh homes.

— Expanded U.S. and international efforts to help secure the immediate release of Artsakh leaders, POWS, and all the other captured persons illegally held by Azerbaijan since the 2020 Azerbaijan/Turkey attacks and the 2023 aggression.

— Preservation of Artsakh’s Armenian cultural and religious heritage already vandalized or under threat of destruction by Azerbaijan.

“Artsakh’s rights were center stage these past two weeks in Washington, DC, as two of the Republic’s most eloquent voices – Artak Beglaryan and Gegham Stepanyan – made the case to U.S. legislators and international religious freedom leaders for the safe return of indigenous Armenians to their ancient homeland,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Over the course of dozens of Congressional meetings, legislators heard first-hand about the Artsakh Genocide and explored the concrete U.S. steps needed to restore this integral part of the Armenian homeland.”

Beglaryan and Stepanyan’s visit was part of a 120,0000 Reasons coalition effort, supported by the Tufenkian Foundation and the Philos Project, and over 20 human rights, faith-based, and ethnic organizations, calling on the US Government to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its genocide against Artsakh’s Armenian population and to prevent further aggression against Armenia.

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