The U.S. Congress has the ability to stop military and security aid to Azerbaijan through the enforcement of Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, a long-standing statute that prohibits U.S. security assistance to “any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.”
How does Section 502B(c) work?
Why Should 502B(c) be Used U.S. End Military Aid to Azerbaijan?
In September, 2023, Azerbaijan launched a military assault on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), resulting in the ethnic cleansing of the region’s entire indigenous Armenian population. This was the culmination of a total humanitarian blockade imposed on the region by Azerbaijan that deprived 120,000 Armenians of food, fuel, medicine, and humanitarian access for 10 months.
Azerbaijan has received U.S. military assistance for decades, emboldening and enabling its authoritarian regime’s genocidal aggression against Artsakh amid widely-documented human rights abuses including the ongoing torture and illegal detention of Armenian prisoners of war, the deliberate targeting of schools, churches, medical facilities and other civilian infrastructure with prohibited weapons, and the systematic destruction, desecration and appropriation of Armenian cultural heritage.
The dangerous precedent of continued military aid to countries like Azerbaijan extends beyond the South Caucasus – signaling to other recipients of U.S. security aid that American policymakers will turn a blind to their abuses.
Upholding statutory prohibitions on security assistance to Azerbaijan under 502B(c) would set a long-overdue precedent of enforcing human rights conditions and restoring Congressional oversight over U.S. security assistance.
Review and download the pdf version of the ANCA policy memo on 502B(c) legislation.