Texas Kills Pro Azeri Resolution

May 8, 2015

Austin, Texas – Earlier today,  Texas State Representative Dwayne Bohab pulled from consideration a misleading resolution (HR2309) “Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Black January events in Azerbaijan” he introduced late April filled with factually inaccurate historical information with respect to the events that led to the country’s  independence as well as its policies regarding people’s right to self-determination and independence, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region.

“The power of our grassroots’ in Texas against the persistent, yet failed, efforts backed by the Azerbaijani lobby to shamefully introduce legislation that blatantly misrepresents facts is a real testament to oThankyoutexasur community’s and organization’s resolve to pursue truth and justice for our Cause,” remarked ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “We were particularly pleased to see Representative Bohac’s quick response and reconsideration to ultimately withdraw the resolution after gaining better understanding of the facts about Azerbaijan and the region,” added Asatryan.

Jeff Stokes, Legislative Director for State Representative Dwayne Bohac informed Asbarez that Bohac’s office had received numerous requests from constituents to introduce a measure such as HR2309.

“When we realized it was a mistake, we placed it on permanent hold,” said Stokes, who explained that per Texas law once a hold is placed on a piece of legislation, no further action is taken on the matter.

The decision to place a permanent hold on HR2309 came just 16 hours after ANCA WR worked with local community leaders and activists to alert Bohac about the facts surrounding the events that led to Azerbaijan’s independence, the corrupt and authoritarian regime of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the country’s gross human rights violations, coverage of which has increased in the American press most recently in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, under the headlines, “A Thuggish Regime Challenges the U.S.” and “The Two Faces of Azerbaijan’s Mr. Aliyev” respectively.

More specifically, late Monday evening ANCA WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan submitted a written statement to Bohac opposing the resolution on behalf of the regional, Dallas and Houston chapters noting, “The resolution gives the impression that Azerbaijan was invaded in retaliation for its independence movement.  However, the truth is that troops were sent to Azerbaijan in order to protect the nearly half million Christian Armenians who were being subjected to violent pogroms and massacres throughout the nation in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Azerbaijan’s hostility was its response to the calls for independence by the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR), which was an autonomous region at the time, thereby demonstrating its repressive policies, which are contrary to the claims made in the language of the resolution.”

Asatryan continued on to state, ”Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has the dubious honor of being selected as the most corrupt person by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The NGO’s finding is based on extensive reports and well-documented evidence that the Aliyev family has been systematically grabbing shares of the most profitable businesses in Azerbaijan for many years. Earlier this week, the Committee to Protect Journalists concluded that Azerbaijan is the fifth most censored and repressive country in the world, out of nearly 200 countries in the world. In its report the CPJ concluded that the ‘main sources of information in Azerbaijan are broadcasters which are owned and controlled by the state or its proxies.’ The report also noted that independent media outlets are subjected to harassment and prosecution by officials, and that at least ten journalists and bloggers are currently in Azerbaijani jails on fabricated charges.”

“This being a top priority, our local chapter and I specifically reached out to Representative Dwayne Bohac’s office yesterday to convey our disappointment and opposition to the resolution.  Today when I called back to see if we made any headway, I was pleased to hear that the office had already pulled the resolution.  This truly shows that each and every one of us can make a difference by just making our voice heard,” stated ANCA Dallas Chair Lucia Nazarian. ”Thank you to the Dallas community members for your efforts in shedding light and bringing the truth to the forefront of our Texas legislature,” added Nazarian.

“I am pleased to see that the anti-Armenian resolution was withdrawn and appreciate the diligence of the Houston Armenian community and proud of their dedication for the Armenian Cause,“ remarked ANCA Houston Chair Vrouir Frankian.

The text of HR2309 may be found at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/pdf/HR02309I.pdf#navpanes=0

The full text of the ANCA WR written statement may be found at www.ancawr.org/TX_HR2309_LetterofOpposition

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.

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For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elen Asatryan
Email / Tel: (818) 500-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Western Region
104 N. Belmont, Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91206 * Tel. (818) 500-1918