Fully Enforce Section 907, Return Of Armenian Pows
LOS ANGELES—The California Democratic Party, at its Executive Board Meeting this weekend, passed by affirmation, a resolution (21-08.014) authored and introduced by DSCC Members and LACDP Elected Members Elen Asatryan and Dr. Suzie Abajian calling on the United States Government to end US aid to Azerbaijan by fully enforcing Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. The resolution also urges the Biden Administration and the Secretary of State to engage with Azerbaijani authorities for the immediate return of Armenian POWs and hostages.
“With the passage of this resolution, the California Democratic Party sent a clear message to Washington — Our US tax dollars must not fund Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s blatant human rights violations and war crimes and their attempts to ethnically cleanse Armenia’s and Artsakh’s indigenous population. This starts with full enforcement of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and immediate US intervention for the safe return of Armenian POWs,” stated Asatryan. ”I am grateful to my colleagues for their unanimous support and I am proud to have led the effort along with Dr. Abajian to bring forth this critical resolution. It is our collective responsibility to use every possible vehicle to demand and achieve concrete actions,” she added.
“The California Democratic Party stands in solidarity with the Armenian community in demanding the immediate and safe return of Armenian POWs and in reaffirming our call on the United States to hold Azerbaijan & its allies like Turkey accountable – beginning with full enforcement of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act,” stated California Party Chair Rusty Hicks.
The California Democratic Party’s call to the Biden Administration and Congress comes as Azerbaijan continues to violate the peace agreement of November 9, 2020 by now attacking not only Artsakh, but also Armenian proper, as approximately 200 Armenian POWS and civilian hostages remain in captivity, and as aggressive rhetoric and threats continue to rise out of Baku.
On Sunday, Azerbaijani servicemen set deliberate fires near Armenia’s civilian villages while reports came in that Azerbaijan in collaboration with Turkey is sending militants from Afghanistan to occupied parts of Artsakh. Last week, the Azerbaijani armed forces opened fire on Armenia and Artsakh, blocked several roads including an interstate road that secures the normal movement of the civilian population; cutting off movement and creating major restrictions on access to food, basic necessities, and medical services while also depriving Artsakh’s residents of telecommunication by suppressing mobile and internet connection using unauthorized frequencies. The week prior, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan was held at gunpoint by Azerbaijani servicemen.
“We became convinced by our own experience that presence of Azerbaijani servicemen on the roads between Armenia’s Syunik province is a violation of the right to life and freedom of movement of people,” stated Tatoyan.
“I am grateful to the California Democratic Party for passing this timely resolution and calling on the Biden Administration to do the right thing. Our government must take decisive action against the relentless acts of aggression of the Azerbaijani military, which is causing the loss of life, freedom of movement and indegenous lands for my people in Armenia and Artsakh,” stated Abajian.
The California Democratic Party, through passage of a resolution Asatryan introduced at its state convention held in May 2021, established the call for US sanctions on and divestment of all public funds from Turkey and Azerbaijan until Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide, and until the people of Artsakh are afforded the opportunity of self-determination on their indigenous lands, which is in line with the official policies and principles of the party. Waiving or weakening Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act is now considered contradictory to the party principles and policies, thus the resolution did not require a floor vote, but only passage through affirmation of the resolutions committee.
The CDP resolution was a resubmission of Res 025-2024 that was passed by the Los Angeles Democratic Party in May 2021. The resolution will be delivered to President Biden, the Secretary of State, the Speaker and Minority Leaders of the United States House of Representative, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the United States Senate.
“The ongoing Azerbaijani aggression has resulted in a regional humanitarian disaster, occupation of Artsakh and Armenia sovereign territories, displacement of over 100,000 Armenians from their ancestral homes, ongoing Azerbaijani illegal imprisonment of Armenian POWs and intentional destruction of Armenian cultural monuments,” remarked ANCA-WR Executive Director Armen Sahakyan. “We thank DSCC and LACDP elected members Elen Asatryan and Suzie Abajian for authoring CDP Resolution 21-08.014 and applaud the California Democratic Party for adopting it, sending a strong signal to Washington and Baku against its malign regional activities.”
Resolution sponsors include Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Organization; Elen Asatryan (AD 43), Suzie Abajian (AD 41), Christine Shimizu (AD 45), John Harabedian (AD 41), Marco Flores (AD 53), Shanna Ingalsbee (AD 43), Cindy Montoya (AD 41), Jason Small, (AD 45), Angelica Duenas (AD 39), Vanuhi Vartanian (AD 43), Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park (AD 53), Karen Suarez (AD 41), Bonnie Shatun (AD 46), Adele Andrade-Stadler (AD 49), Mary Ann Lutz (AD 41), Paul Cole Padilla (AD 49), Kathleen Patterson (AD 42), Linda Perez (AD 43), Michael F. Duran (AD 41), Melissa Taylor (AD 41), Dwight Young (AD 36), Tina Fredericks (AD 41), Mitchell Tsai (AD 41), Steven Fisher (AD 43), Melissa Michelson (AD 49), Rebecca Wolfersberger (AD 45).
“Profound gratitude is in order to Elen Asatryan and Dr. Suzie Abajian for spearheading CDP Resolution 21-08.014, and influencing the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party (CDP) to adopt the resolution. This is a significant milestone, as one of the two major traditional parties in the United States, represented in the 5th largest economy in the world — the great State of California, has made it clear to the Biden Administration that continued U.S. assistance to the dynastic dictatorship of Azerbaijan is antithetical to U.S. values and guiding principles. Further, this resolution sends a clear signal to the Administration that its continued pressure on Azerbaijan’s authorities is paramount in effecting the release and repatriation of unjustly held Armenian POWs and civilian captives,” stated Armenian Assembly of America Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan.
“SCAD is proud that the California Democratic Party is standing in solidarity with our community by passing this very important resolution. No effort must be spared in returning Armenian POW’s from the 44 day war and those taken captive, thereafter. Further, the US must not reward Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression by affording it further military aid. This resolution is not a mere policy position, but an articulation of our values and principles as Americans and Democrats. Finally, we would like to thank Ms. Asatryan and Dr. Abajian for their steadfast leadership in this matter,” stated Chair of the Southern California Armenian Democrats, Leonard Manoukian.
California is home to over one million Armenian Americans, a large majority of whom are directly impacted by the current threats and are descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, who have been tirelessly advocating for global assistance and intervention as they witnessed the unimaginable sufferings of their family members overseas, inflicted by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The California Democratic party is the dominant political party in the state. Representing over 10.3 million democrats, it is also the largest democratic entity in the United States.