Anthony Portantino (California State Senate, 2022)

Senator Portantino Introduces Joint Legislative Resolution Urging Azerbaijan to End Inhumane Blockade of Artsakh


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 9, which calls on Azerbaijan to end its inhumane blockade of Artsakh and ensure the free and adequate flow of food, medicine, and humanitarian goods through the Lachin corridor.

“The situation in Artsakh is dire and deeply troubling,” stated Senator Portantino. “As a genocide is unfolding before our eyes, we must act. The people of Artsakh cannot afford to wait another day without strong United States and international action to bring an end to this devastating humanitarian crisis. It is critical that we move beyond words, demand the re-opening of the Lachin Corridor, and cut off military aid to Azerbaijan. I strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s violent and genocidal campaign against the Armenian people of Artsakh, who have been left without food, medical supplies and the right to free movement.”

In September 2020, Azerbaijan launched a war of territorial expansion against the Armenians of Artsakh that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of over 70 percent of Artsakh territory. Azerbaijan perpetrated widely documented human rights abuses, including the unlawful targeting of schools, homes, hospitals, and churches with prohibited weapons. For more than eight months, 120,000 people have been under the blockade and for the last 2 months, in total isolation from food, water, medical supplies, fuel, electricity, and other basic needs.

Recently, the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court warned that Azerbaijan is preparing genocide against ethnic Armenian in the Artsakh region and called for the United Nations Security Council to bring the matter before the international tribunal.

In 2014, the California State Legislature adopted AJR 32, which supported the Republic of Artsakh as a free and independent nation. Earlier this year, Senator Portantino led efforts to submit a letter to the White House urging President Biden to take action against Azerbaijan by immediately ending military assistance and requesting that emergency humanitarian aid be delivered to the people of Artsakh. Unfortunately, concrete steps against Azerbaijan have yet to be taken and California needs to continue to have its voice heard in Washington.

Senator Portantino has visited Armenia and Artsakh on a number of occasions. In 2021, he became the first state or federal official to visit Artsakh after the 44-day war. He continues to chair the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange, which was first established in 2017 at the request of Senator Portantino to expand business opportunities through trade, economic development, cultural awareness, and education between California, Armenia, and Artsakh. California has the largest population of Armenian Americans in the country, with the 25th Senate District having the largest concentration.

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