Congressional Testimony Warns Legislators about Dangers of Baku’s Growing Intolerance
WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), in testimony submitted this week for a Capitol Hill hearing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, called the attention of U.S. legislators to “the truly alarming escalation of [Azerbaijan’s] state-driven anti-Armenian incitements, intolerance, and acts of violence.”
ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian, in her testimony to the Commission, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, documented the manner in which “Baku’s policies and practices violate international human rights principles, abrogate Azerbaijan’s own treaty obligations, destabilize the region, and create a dangerous environment conducive to the renewal of full-scale hostilities.” The hearing, formally titled “The Security, Economic and Human Rights Dimensions of US-Azerbaijan Relations,” was called amid growing State Department and Congressional concern over Azerbaijan’s increasingly destructive governance and regional destabilization.
After reviewing five broad areas of Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian intolerance and violence, Nahapetian closed her testimony by stressing that, “As Americans, proud citizens of a nation founded by people who fled persecution and lit the flame of freedom that burns today in the hearts of the people in Nagorno Karabakh, we cannot continue to look away and ignore Azerbaijan’s destructive and hateful policies towards Armenians. Neither the U.S. government nor our OSCE partners should ever, in any way, acquiesce to Baku’s anti-Armenian policies or increasingly violent efforts to subjugate the people and government of Karabakh to despotic foreign rule.”
The following witnesses are scheduled to testify in person: Tom Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State; Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State; Miriam Lanskoy, Director for Russia and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy, and; Brenda Shaffer, Visiting Researcher, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University. Shaffer is widely viewed as a reliable pro-Azerbaijan voice in Washington, an ardent advocate of the interests of energy firms operating in the Caspian region, and a strident critic of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
The ANCA’s testimony is available here.