LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region launched an advocacy effort on Tuesday, August 30 in response to reports that four members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors issued and signed a scroll honoring the Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev for his “service to the people.”
ANCA-WR staff and advocates immediately contacted Supervisors Kathryn Barger, Hilda Solis, Holly Mitchell, and Janice Hahn–whose signatures were seen on the scroll–to voice the outrage of the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles.
At the same time, thousands of Armenian activists reacted negatively on social media to Los Angeles County’s decision to honor Aghayev in spite of his decade-long activities to undermine human rights, spread Armenophobia, and distort historical facts while failing to demonstrate a basic grasp of international law. Concurrently, in response to a celebratory tweet by Aghayev, Fuad Isgandarov, the Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Swiss Confederation and Principality of Liechtenstein, congratulated Aghayev for the honor by stating, “Congratulations, dear colleague!”
Within a few hours, Supervisors Barger, Solis, and Hahn issued statements informing the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles that their signatures had appeared on the scroll honoring Aghayev without their authorization, expressed regret for the incident and reaffirmed their support to the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles. Supervisor Mitchell, who investigated the application of her signature with staff, followed shortly thereafter.
Upon further investigation by ANCA-WR staff, and according to statements by the County Supervisors, the decision by the County of Los Angeles’ Office of Protocol to add their signatures to the scroll was made in error, and without the Supervisors’ authorization. The only Supervisor whose name was not listed on the scroll was Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents the 3rd Supervisorial District, where the Consulate General of the Republic of Azerbaijan is located.
On September 6, a week after the incident, County of Los Angeles’ Office of Protocol placed an official statement on the LA County’s website stating, “The County of Los Angeles’ Office of Protocol (Office) apologizes for any confusion resulting from the unauthorized Board signatures on a scroll presented to the Consul General of Azerbaijan last month. The Supervisors’ signatures were applied in error. Accordingly, the Office is declaring that the unauthorized scroll is void and should be taken down from any social media or any other platforms. Because the County of Los Angeles is not bound by an unauthorized and erroneous action taken by an office in excess of that office’s authority, no one should rely on the subject scroll as any kind of declaration by the County of Los Angeles.”
At time of writing, Nasimi Aghayev had yet to remove the unauthorized scroll from his twitter account.
“The retraction of this unconscionable recognition by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and its Office of Protocol is a welcome step toward truth and justice, protecting the Armenian community of Los Angeles from state-funded Armenophobia, and is an undeniable testament to the strength of our community’s grassroots advocacy efforts,” remarked Nora Hovsepian Esq., Chair of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors. “We are grateful for the swift action of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and value their commitment to the Armenian-American community in Los Angeles County,” Hovsepian continued.
With Aghayev at the helm of the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles for the last decade, Aliyev’s regime expended significant effort and resources to spread hate, propaganda, and lies to alienate the Armenian community of Los Angeles from the legislators who represent them.
“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ decision to rescind their signatures from Aghayev’s unauthorized scroll should serve as a testament to the power of the Armenian-American community when we unite and fight collectively toward the same goal,” said Edward Barsoumian, Government Affairs Coordinator at ANCA-WR. “Only together can we ensure that Azeri oil money stands no chance to influence the policymakers we elect to serve and protect the Armenian-American community as an equal and valued facet of Los Angeles.”
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.