Congressional Armenian Caucus: Azerbaijani Blockade of Artsakh “Definition of Ethnic Cleansing”

ANCA Welcomes Bipartisan Call on Biden Administration to Take Immediate Action

July 29, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – With the Republic of Artsakh’s Armenian Christian population on the brink of starvation eight months into the brutal Azerbaijani blockade, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Adam Schiff (CA-28), and David Valadao (R-CA) today called on the Biden Administration and the international community to take immediate action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“Armenian and allied Americans from New Jersey, Florida, California, and across America join in welcoming this renewed push by the Congressional Armenian Caucus for decisive White House leadership in confronting Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh and escalating acts of aggression against Armenians,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“We are encouraged by the rising tide of community, coalition, and congressional outrage over the Biden-Harris Administration’s unwillingness to break Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh – and look forward to leveraging this energy to bring an end to American appeasement of Ilham Aliyev.”

In a July 28th statement, Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs explain, “The people of Artsakh are facing an unfathomable humanitarian crisis at the hands of the Aliyev regime. Because of the Azeri blockade of the Lachin Corridor blockade, food is dwindling, medical supplies are limited, and essentials for daily life are dangerously low. The international community has sat on the sidelines for far too long, watching as this crisis has escalated to a critical point where the lives of tens of thousands are currently at risk. Meanwhile, President Aliyev has faced zero consequences for his brutal campaign to force Armenians in Artsakh off their historic lands.”

The lawmakers called Azerbaijan’s actions, “the definition of ethnic cleansing,” and urged the Biden Administration and the international community to take immediate action. “The international community must utilize all diplomatic tools available to halt the blockade, open this vital lifeline, and prevent a catastrophic humanitarian crisis from unfolding. We call on the Biden Administration to act immediately and help bring this deliberate and calculated crisis to a peaceful end,” stated the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs.

Earlier this week, the ANCA’s Hamparian, in a powerful open letter directed to the Biden Administration, outlined three immediate actions the U.S. can take to avert a second Armenian Genocide in Artsakh, including:

1) The U.S. should set a hard deadline for Baku to lift its blockade and cease all acts of aggression against Artsakh and Armenia.

2) The U.S. should impose Global Magnitsky and other sanctions on senior Azerbaijani officials for failing to meet this deadline, fully enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and block all direct and third-party sales or transfers of U.S. weapons or defense articles to Azerbaijan.

3) The U.S. should immediately undertake concrete actions to prevent genocide in Artsakh by leading international effort for the recognition of Artsakh’s status as self-governing, requiring 1) United Nations security guarantees; 2) a sustained international peacekeeping presence; 3) robust U.S. and international humanitarian and developmental assistance, 4) secure transportation, commerce, and energy links to Armenia, 5) a strategic buffer zone, and 6) food, water and energy security.

The ANCA continues to support U.S. Senate and House Congressional resolutions condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade and urging the enforcement of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan and emergency humanitarian assistance to Artsakh. House Resolution 108, led by Rep. Pallone currently has the bipartisan support of 90 U.S. House members; its counterpart in the U.S. Senate (S.Res244)  was introduced by Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Rep. Schiff has introduced legislation (H.Res.320) calls for U.S. recognition of the independence of the Republic of Artsakh.

For over eight months, Azerbaijan has blocked the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor, restricting the transit of life-sustaining food, fuel, and medicine to Artsakh’s 120,000 Christian Armenian population, in a blatant attempt to ethnically cleanse the indigenous population from their ancestral Homeland. Over the past several weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been blocked from providing any food or medicine to the region’s population, which is now on the brink of starvation. “Our humanitarian aid convoys are a lifeline for the population in this area. With these convoys blocked, our concern is that the humanitarian situation will further deteriorate. We are most worried about those who cannot help themselves. The sick and people with chronic diseases are particularly at risk, as are the elderly, infirm and children,” announced ICRC’s regional director for Eurasia, Ariane Bauer, in a July 25th press statement.

Earlier this week, a convoy of trucks attempting to deliver 400 tons of humanitarian assistance from Armenia to Artsakh was prevented by Azerbaijan from entering Artsakh.

Artsakh President Arayik Harutunyan, during an international online press conference held on Monday, declared the blockade a ‘humanitarian disaster’ and urged the international community to press Azerbaijan to lift the blockade.  “Additionally, I urge the executive directors of UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Program, and the United Nations Population Fund, along with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, to live up to their mandates and responsibilities, and deliver relief and presence on the ground,” stated the Artsakh President.

The Artsakh Parliament issued a powerful appeal, calling on the international community to recognize the independence of Artsakh, noting that “We are deeply convinced that the only way to prevent the impending tragedy is to recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh based on the principle of ‘remedial recognition of independence.'”


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street NW Washington, DC 20036 | | @anca_dc
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