WASHINGTON — On December 15, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to include robust humanitarian aid for Armenia in President Biden’s National Security Supplemental funding request. This comes as Armenia supports more than 100,000 refugees displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) by the unprovoked military attacks by Azerbaijan in September 2023, and up to 150,000 refugees in total since the 44 Day Conflict in 2020.
“After systematically starving the people of Artsakh with a 10-months-long blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road that connected Artsakh with the outside world, Azerbaijani forces launched a large-scale attack on Artsakh on September 19, resulting in at least 200 dead and 400 wounded, including children, women, and the elderly, and prompting nearly the entire population to flee for their lives. By the time a UN mission was sent — far too late — to review conditions on the ground, the team reported hearing that only ‘between 50 and 1,000 ethnic Armenians remain in the Karabakh region.’ The majority of those refugees are now in Armenia, where they arrived in desperate condition and in need of aid,” Schiff wrote in the letter.
“We understand the Armenian government has identified a need to allocate more than $1.5 billion toward the long-term housing needs of refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh, but significant and sustained support from the international community and United States will be needed to address the short- and medium-term needs of refugees. Alleviating human suffering and meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of the refugees now in Armenia must be a top priority. The national security supplemental must include a robust level of U.S. humanitarian assistance for Armenia sufficient to address the scope of the challenge and demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Armenia’s flourishing democracy, as the Armenian people continue to face unprovoked military aggression and threats of genocide at the hands of its autocratic neighbor,” Schiff concluded.
Schiff’s 30th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Burbank and Glendale, is home to the largest Armenian diaspora outside of Armenia. He serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.