BOISE, Idaho — The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) announced last month that it successfully defeated House Concurrent Resolution 37, which attempted to praise Azerbaijan’s interfaith tolerance and positive multiculturalism. The ANCA-WR led an advocacy initiative and mobilized Idaho’s local Armenian-American community to defeat the measure in less than 48 hours.
“The quick defeat of Idaho’s resolution in praise of Azerbaijan is a testament to the strength of American democracy and yet another example that our well-organized grassroots efforts will have a stronger resounding effect than that of a foreign paid lobby,” said Elen Asatryan, executive director of the ANCA-WR. “We are proud that the State of Idaho has joined the states of Hawaii, Colorado, California and others to reject the dictatorial regime of Azerbaijan, which is known for its oppression of citizens, press and its persecution of Christian communities.
“A dictatorship that has destroyed more Christian monuments than ISIS and is the world’s fifth most censored country should not be praised for anything, let alone interfaith tolerance.”
HCR 37, sponsored by Representative Thomas Dayley, was introduced by the Idaho House State Affairs Committee on February 11. Once alerted to the resolution, ANCA-WR immediately alerted the local Armenian American community, submitted testimony to all House members in opposition to the resolution and called upon all members to encourage the withdrawal of this resolution. The complete statement by the ANCA-WR opposing the resolution can be found at www.ancawr.org/Idaho.
The Idaho House State Affairs Committee confirmed that the controversial measure had effectively been withdrawn killed.
“The sponsor of the resolution has requested that I hold the bill and not have a hearing on it,” stated Representative Thomas Loertscher, chairman of the committee, in an email. “That is what will happen and it will not advance and will not be considered for any further action.”
Local activists and ANCA-Idaho Chair Liyah Babayan, who is a well-respected entrepreneur and human rights defender in Twin Falls, commended joint efforts to defeat HCR 37.