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DSCC Member Elen Asatryan Introduces Resolution at CA Dem Convention Urging Release of Armenian POWs; Calls for Divesting from, Condemning, and Sanctioning Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Los Angeles, CA – LACDP Elected Member and DSCC Member Elen Asatryan has introduced a resolution, which will be considered at the California Democratic Convention taking place from April 29 through May 2, condemning Turkey and Azerbaijan for the war crimes they committed over the course of 44 days after their attack on the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia, which began on September 27, 2020. The resolution also urges Congress and the Biden Administration to sanction Turkey and Azerbaijan and demand that Azerbaijani authorities immediately release all Armenian POWS and captured civilians. Furthermore, it also calls on the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers’ Retirement System to take socially responsible steps and divest all public employee retirement funds from investment vehicles issued by Turkey and Azerbaijan until Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915 – 1923, and until the people of Artsakh are afforded the opportunity of self-determination on their indigenous lands. 

“Authoring this resolution is deeply personal because Armenian-Americans are among the diverse constituents I am proud to represent in my capacity as an elected member of Los Angeles County’s Democratic Party and Democratic State Central Committee. It is our duty and our moral responsibility as an organization to take a firm stand against human rights violations, to show solidarity in this moment of pain, to amplify the voices of our minority communities against the voices of oppression, and to uphold the basic values of life, liberty, and pursuit of a dignified existence. This is a humanitarian crisis that demands bold leadership and our immediate attention,” emphasized Asatryan.

The situation is dire, lives are at stake with Armenian POWs and civilian hostages still being held captive and continuous threats from the Dictators Erdogan and Alliev to finish their mission of annihilating the Armenian people. Turkey and Azerbaijan must be held accountable not only for the war crimes they continue to commit to date, but for the inappropriate allocation of our American tax dollars towards these war crimes.” 

“If we don’t take a strong stance now, then nothing sets us apart from the international community in 1915 who stood by and watched the Armenian Genocide unfold- and did nothing to stop it.  I am hopeful that my peers and fellow leaders within the Democratic Party will reflect on the critical importance of this time-sensitive resolution and will shepherd its passage at the state convention, and thank all the elected officials, sponsors, and organizations who have helped bring the resolution to this point,” she added.

“Because genocide is not some relic of the past, it’s happening right now in places around the world. Only months ago, Turkey and Azerbaijan made war against the Armenians in Artsakh, and many Armenians fear that another genocide could take place at any time. Speaking this simple truth can help deter other crimes against humanity by demonstrating that those who engage in mass murder will be held accountable,” stated Congressman Adam Schiff who is a sponsor on the resolution.

“As the grandchild of four genocide survivors and as a third generation refugee of the genocide, I see the recent offensive by the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments as the continuation of the legacy of genocide, the uprooting of my indigenous Armenian community from our ancestral lands and the destruction of our cultural heritage. This resolution is timely and essential because it calls for holding the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments accountable for their ongoing human rights violations against my people. Our tax dollars can no longer support the war crimes of these governments,” stated LACDP Elected Member and DSCC Members Suzie Abajian who also stands as a sponsor to the CDP resolution.

The original resolution was submitted with the maximum 35 DSCC sponsors allowed and includes Congressman Adam Schiff and DSCC Members Suzie Abajian, Hans Johnson, Vanuhi Vartanian, Cindy Montoya, Ellen Finkelpearl, John Harabedian, Josue Barnes, Drexel Heard, Koreen Cea, Todd Jones, Jessica Craven, Linda Perez, Malcolm Johnson, Kev Abazajian, Gina Clayton-Tarvin, Sean Abajian, Melissa Taylor, Rebecca Wolfersberger, Luis Lopez, Mia Livas Porter, Marco Flores, Tina Fredericks, Steven Fisher, Karen Suarez, Mary Ann Lutz, Kathleen Patterson, Angelica Duenas, Tim Wendler, Mindy Pfeiffer, Jacinta Lincke, Kenneth Armstrong, Jason Small, and Thom O’Shaughnessy. Letters of support were sent to the committee members from over 125 organizations, leaders, delegates and fellow democrats urging passage of the resolution, including the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, Armenian Assembly of America, Southern California Armenian Democrats, Pan Armenian Council of the Western United States and its 24 regional and national Armenian-American religious, political and civil organizations, the Glendale Teachers Association, East Area Progressive Democrats, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian, and others.

The California Democratic Party’s resolutions committee has the authority to amend language of any resolution it receives. It also has authority to combine resolutions, should there be multiple resolutions submitted that are similar in topic, without needing prior approval from those who have authored the resolutions. Though there were two resolutions similar in topic, and the other resolution’s author has been added to the referenced resolution, the committee chose to use the language of Asatryan’s resolution exclusively, worked with Asatryan exclusively on amendments, and agreed to keep the language of her original resolution mainly in place. The other resolution in its entirety was considered both outdated and not in line with CDP guidelines. In addition, it included a list of sponsors, which at least two were verified as unauthorized for use, and one unauthorized sponsor which was also not a DSCC member. The original text of Asatryan’s resolution as submitted along with source materials and support letters is available here The text of the amended resolution, which will be considered during the convention is available here.

This resolution comes on the heels of President Biden formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide as genocide and another unanimously-passed resolution by the LA County Democratic Party in October 2020 authored by Asatryan, which condemned Azerbaijan and Turkey for committing war crimes during their 2020 attacks on the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia and called on the U.S. to immediately impose sanctions and halt military aid to Azerbaijan and Turkey.

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.

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