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9/9/2022 (Artsakh) International Christian Concern – Last week, nearly 50 Members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter calling on the U.S. government to increase humanitarian aid to Artsakh. The letter was released in tandem with Artsakh’s 31st Independence Day as a worsening human rights situation continues to unfold in the region. As a result of a baseless 44-day war launched by Azerbaijan in 2020, the people of Artsakh continue to face severe hardships, a majority of whom are women, children, and vulnerable Armenian Christians.

In the letter signed by Members of Congress, the lawmakers strongly urged “… the Department of State and USAID to significantly increase funding that will directly assist the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh….The need for this assistance has only grown due to Azerbaijan’s indiscriminate bombing campaigns in 2020 and the ongoing provocations by their troops which further endanger food, water, energy, and other critical resources for these communities.”

Artsakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, is a disputed territory between the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan. While the dynamics of this conflict are deeply complex, they have strong religious freedom implications. As Armenia is a historically Christian nation, Artsakh’s population is heavily comprised of Christian residents – and Azerbaijani forces have reportedly promised to erase the Christian heritage from the region.

McKenna Hammack, Advocacy Manager for MENA at International Christian Concern, said, “We commend the work of the Congressional Armenian Caucus and the 49 Members of Congress who called on the U.S. government to remember the plight of those suffering in Artsakh. The heinous acts of terror against the people of Artsakh have continued for far too long. In addition to significant humanitarian aid, we also call on the U.S. government to hold the Azerbaijan government accountable for its actions. No one should be targeted for their religious beliefs.”

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