U.S. government must urgently protect human rights in Artsakh amid threat of genocide – congressman, 22 June 2023

YEREVAN, JUNE 22, ARMENPRESS. United States Congressman Adam Schiff has called on the U.S. government to support the people of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) and support its path towards recognition, which it deserves.

Schiff made the comments at the U.S. Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on Safeguarding the People of Nagorno Karabakh.

He said that the U.S. government must take immediate actions to protect the human rights in Artsakh and condemn Azerbaijan’s ceasefire violations.

“The U.S. must call on Azerbaijan to immediately and unconditionally release all Armenian prisoners of war, hold Azerbaijan to account through sanctions and suspending aid for the ongoing blockade of Lachin Corridor, it must ensure the protection and the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, when the Armenians of Artsakh have declared that they will not abandon their right to independence and goal to live peacefully, with dignity,” the congressman said.

The democratic and peace-loving population of Artsakh is subjected to the ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan’s authoritarian regime and is facing the threat of genocide, he warned.

Schiff quoted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulating that all peoples have the right to self-determination. He stated that Artsakh’s declaration of independence in 1991 was in line with international law and the UN Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States.

The congressman warned that the authoritarian regime of Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev cannot guarantee the security and rights of the 120,000 Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh because the Azeri authorities have organized numerous atrocities against Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh, including the ethnic cleansing of thousands of Armenians in Shushi and Hadrut during the 2020 war, the torture and killings of Armenians POWs and destruction of Armenian religious and cultural heritage.

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