WASHINGTON – Among the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) foreign aid priorities being advanced by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is an appropriation of at least $5 million in aid to Nagorno Karabakh for humanitarian and developmental programs, including the urgently needed expansion and modernization of the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center, a regional clinic serving children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.
In addition to supporting the vital, life-saving work of the Center, the ANCA is encouraging House and Senate appropriators to support a broad range of other foreign aid priorities of special concern to Armenian Americans and other friends of Armenia, including:
— Zeroing-out U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan until its leaders agree with the Royce-Engel peace proposals to withdraw snipers and heavy arms, add OSCE observers, and deploy gunfire locator systems.
— Allocating at least $40 million in U.S. economic assistance to Armenia, targeted to growing the U.S.-Armenia trade and investment relationship.
— Appropriating at least $10 million in emergency aid to help Armenia settle the nearly 20,000 thousand people who have fled to Armenia from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center
Today, among the most urgent humanitarian priorities in Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding region is the need to help rehabilitate children and adults with disabilities.
The Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center, first established in 1998 through a partnership of local health officials and then-Speaker of United Kingdom’s House of Lords, Baroness Caroline Cox, is respected internationally for its leadership in rehabilitation. The Center provides high-quality, specialized medical care each year to approximately 1,000 local and regional patients. Among those receiving treatment include patients – from Karabakh, Armenia, Russia, and Georgia – with spinal cord injuries, elderly stroke victims, and infants and children born with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy and spinal bifida. In the face of rapidly growing local and regional demands for rehabilitation services, the Center lacks the sufficient infrastructure and modern facilities to meet its pressing humanitarian mission.
The U.S. aid program to Nagorno Karabakh, first enacted in FY98, has dramatically improved maternity care for at-risk mothers and infants, provided clean drinking water for thousands of families, and, in partnership with the Halo Trust, cleared farmland and rural villages of deadly landmines and unexploded ordnance. (Nagorno Karabakh has experienced one of the highest per capita rates of landmine accidents in the world, higher than even Afghanistan).
ANCA Launches FY2017 Foreign Aid On-line Advocacy Alert
The ANCA launched an online action alert in support of Armenian American FY17 foreign aid priorities.
Online letters to legislators, grassroots advocates are highlighting that: “The United States has long enjoyed friendly relations with Armenia, based upon shared democratic and humanitarian values and enduring common interests in a secure, stable, peaceful and democratic Caucasus.” These letters note that: “Armenia has sent troops to support U.S., NATO and other international operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Kosovo, and is exploring a new peacekeeping mission to Mali. Domestically, Armenia has – despite ongoing Turkish and Azerbaijan blockades – developed strong democratic institutions and undertaken exemplary free market reforms. For its part, the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabakh continues to strengthen its democratic institutions, holding widely-praised free and fair local and national elections. Despite Baku’s escalating aggression Nagorno Karabakh remains committed to working with the OSCE Minsk Group to reach a fair and enduring peace.”
These priorities will be among those stressed during the ANCA March 15/16 fly-in for peace, prosperity and justice in Washington, DC. Supporters of Armenia and Artsakh available to travel to the nation’s capital for the two-day intensive grassroots advocacy effort can learn more about the program and register online for free.
The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees dealing with foreign aid appropriations are beginning their review process now, with the House members encouraged to share their priorities with Subcommittee leadership from February 9th through March 22nd. Subcommittee and Committee votes on FY2017 bill will likely take place in June, 2016.