WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joins The HALO Trust in welcoming the bipartisan leadership of over 100 U.S. Representatives in calling for emergency humanitarian assistance for Artsakh explosive clearance and demining in response to the ongoing Azerbaijani and Turkish attacks.
Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA) led the Congressional letter sent to US Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Administrator John Barsa on Tuesday.
“The ANCA welcomes the strong, bipartisan support for the life-saving demining and humanitarian aid efforts conducted by the HALO Trust in Artsakh,” noted ANCA Government Affairs Director, Tereza Yerimyan. “At a time when civilian lives are at such high risk due to Azerbaijani war crimes, and the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. must do all it can to provide for the safety and security of Artsakh’s population.” Yerimyan worked with ANCA regional and local leaders in a week-long grassroots advocacy effort to rally support for this pro-Artsakh initiative.
“As an international aid organization dedicated to removing the types of lethal explosive hazards now strewn throughout Nagorno Karabakh, we at HALO hope to see strong US funding to respond to this humanitarian crisis unfolding in the south Caucasus. We greatly appreciate the leadership of Representatives Jim Costa, Devin Nunes, T.J. Cox, Gus Bilirakis, Brad Sherman, Bill Johnson, Judy Chu, John Katko and the many other members of Congress that signed onto this letter to urge US support,” stated HALO USA Executive Director Chris Whatley.
The Congressional letter notes that the Azerbaijani and Turkish “bombings of cities with large populations including Stepanakert, Shushi, and Martakert have resulted in high levels of explosive contamination including rockets, missiles, artillery projectiles, and cluster munitions. Over 73,000 people either remain in or have been displaced from towns and villages which are now contaminated by explosive remnants of war. This is over half the population of the region prior to September.”
The letter concludes noting, “Given the potential to protect civilian lives and contribute to efforts to stabilize Nagorno Karabakh, we strongly urge USAID to invest in humanitarian demining and unexploded ordnance removal activities and to provide additional humanitarian aid to help those in the conflict zone. Please give this request all fair and full consideration within all the applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”
Congressional organizers welcomed the groundswell of support for the initiative from their U.S. House colleagues.
Joining Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Judy Chu, Jim Costa, TJ Cox, Bill Johnson, John Katko, Devin Nunes, and Brad Sherman (D-CA) in cosigning the letter are Representatives: Alma Adams (D-NC), Colin Allred (D-TX), Jim Banks (R-IN), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), David Cicilline (D-RI), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Lou Correa (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Danny Davis (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Josh Harder (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), William Keating (D-MA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Steve King (R-IA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), James Langevin (D-RI), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Andy Levin (D-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), David Price (D-NC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).
Original story here.