ANCA-WR Demands Mayors of San Diego and Torrance Rescind Proclamations Whitewashing Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Abuses

October 15, 2021

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) has issued letters to the mayors of San Diego and Torrance, CA urging they immediately rescind proclamations egregiously whitewashing Azerbaijan’s persecution of and aggression against the Armenian people.

The letters were prepared in response to a recent issuing of a proclamation by the Mayor of San Diego observing “Azerbaijan’s Restoration of Independence Day” – which was followed today by an identically-worded proclamation issued by the Mayor of Torrance observing “Azerbaijan Day.”

The proclamations – in celebrating Azerbaijan’s restoration of independence – dangerously misrepresent Azerbaijan’s record on human rights, democracy, and its ongoing persecution of the region’s indigenous Armenian population.

“It is unconscionable that in light of the Azerbaijani regime’s egregious violation of international law, and its shameless disregard of fundamental and inalienable human rights, a proclamation like this would be issued,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “To embolden and defend this regime amidst its torture of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives, its ongoing aggression against Armenia and violation of its sovereignty, as well as its widely documented persecution, dehumanization, and ethnic cleansing of the region’s indigenous Armenian population, is to be complicit in its actions,” she continued.

The statements also asserted that Azerbaijan has been an historic model of democracy in the region, dating back to the establishment of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic. This, however, eschews any mention of Azerbaijan’s role in collaborating with the Ottoman Empire in perpetrating the Armenian Genocide – which saw the massacre of 30,000 Armenians in Baku, 20,000 in Shushi, 10,000 in Nakhijevan, and tens of thousands more forcibly displaced.

In addition to its historic persecution of the region’s Armenian population, Azerbaijan has also been recognized by several prominent human rights organizations as one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes, routinely ranking amongst the most repressive regimes in terms of fundamental human rights, democratic freedoms, and freedom of the press. Azerbaijan’s ruling regime has also been consistently cited as one of the most corrupt regimes on earth and implicated in major international corruption scandals, including most recently the Pandora Papers.

“In every regard, this proclamation represents a distortion of reality and a cover-up of Azerbaijan’s atrocious human rights record – from its blatant disregard for democratic freedoms, to its persecution and ethnic cleansing of Armenians,” Hovsepian continued.

“We call on the Mayors of San Diego and Torrance to undo the harm caused to the Armenian community and end their complicity in Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses by rescinding these unconscionable statements immediately,” Hovsepian concluded.

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Armen Sahakyan
Email / Tel: (818) 500-1918
Armenian National Committee of America - Western Region
104 N Belmont St., Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91206 | | @anca_wr