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6/22/2023 United States (International Christian Concern) ––“This is the oldest Christian nation facing again for the second time in only about a century the possibility of a genocide,” project coordinator Robert Nicholson stated as he returned from his trip from Armenia.  

Nicholson is discussing the Armenian Christians who suffered up to 1.5 million deaths in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire that the U.S. now recognizes as a genocide.  

Former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback informs Congress about the ongoing crisis between Azerbaijan and Armenia as he returned from a fact-finding trip to the two countries Tuesday.  

Alongside the human rights group Philos Project, Brownback traveled to Armenia and Azerbaijan to learn more about the ongoing conflict between Muslims in Azerbaijan and Christians in Armenia. The conflict began after the dissolution of the Soviet Union when both countries claimed the land for themselves. The first Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994 ended with Armenia taking control of Nagorno –Karabakh. 

Conflict reemerged in 2020, with Azerbaijan taking control of large swaths of the region. Armenia’s only access to Nagorno-Karabakh is now through a thin strip of land called the “Lachin corridor.” 

In December, Azerbaijan established a blockade of the Lachin corridor which has resulted in a crippling of the Armenian infrastructure in Nagorno-Karabakh.  

Nicholson said that because of this blockade, “There has been no natural gas flowing since March, and other energy supplies, [such as] electricity, are spotty at best. Families have been separated. Surgeries have been canceled. The 120,000 people inside [Nagorno-Karabakh] are really desperate for help.” 

Coming back from his travels, Brownback has called for Congress to pass a Nagorno-Karabakh Human Rights Act to establish basic security guarantees for the Nagorno-Karabakh population. 

He also called on the U.S. to reinstate previously used sanctions on Azerbaijan should it continue its blockade. Many media outlets have characterized this conflict as a territorial dispute, but both Brownback and Nicholson have clarified that the conflict is more one of ideology and religion.  

With this striking call to action, Nicholson added, “There’s room for the United States to play a very constructive role in helping these different parties, both of which are our allies, to reach a peaceful and just solution to end the conflict.” 

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