US senators request report on Artsakh people’s rights violations

US senators request report on Artsakh people’s rights violations

U.S. senators Ed Markey and Bill Cassidy have introduced a bipartisan resolution requesting a report on Azerbaijan’s human rights practices pursuant to Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reports.

The resolution requests information from the U.S. Department of State on Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses both within the country, as well as during its sustained military assault against Artsakh that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of its entire indigenous Armenian population. Senators Marco Rubio, Gary Peters, Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bob Menendez and Peter Welch have also joined the resolution.

Senator Ed Markey noted that the need to hold the Azerbaijani government accountable is long overdue.

“Military action has never been the solution to peace and stability in Nagorno-Karabakh. This resolution puts pressure on Azerbaijan’s government to uphold human rights and stop committing crimes against ethnic Armenians in the region. We must protect the will, the rights, and the bedrock freedoms of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Markey said.

Senator Cassidy referred to the issue of Azerbaijan’s bulldozing holy sites.

The resolution will require the Department of State to provide a detailed description of the human rights abuses committed by Azerbaijan, including arbitrary killings, torture of detainees, the displacement of ethnic Armenians from Artsakh, and the destruction of religious and cultural sites.

Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act is a long-standing yet underutilized 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.” If the resolution is adopted, it will mark the first time that Congress has requested a report under Section 502B(c) since 1976.