The State Legislature of the U.S. state of Arizona has affirmed the Republic of Artsakh’s (Nagorno Karabakh) right to self-determination in a proclamation issued by Arizona State House Speaker Ben Toma, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We welcome the proclamation from the Speaker of Arizona’s State Assembly recognizing Artsakh’s right to self-determination – an important step towards justice for the Armenians of Artsakh,” remarked ANCA National Board Member Zanku Armenian. “Amid Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, this demonstration of solidarity is a crucial part of our community’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness of this unfolding humanitarian catastrophe and ensure Azerbaijan is held accountable for its unabated aggression against the Armenian people. This proclamation is a testament to the tireless advocacy of Arizona’s Armenian-American community, and the ANCA looks forward to continuing to work alongside local activists in the state to ensure our community’s voice is heard at every level of government.”
Arizona Armenian community leaders Artur Artenyan and Vartan Arabyan, working in conjunction with the ANCA, spearheaded the legislative effort. The proclamation cites Artsakh as “the indigenous homeland of the Armenian people, and has been a center of Armenian cultural, political and religious life for several millennia.”
It goes on to document Soviet Azerbaijan’s decades of Artsakh oppression and post-independence aggression, “culminating in an assault on Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020 that saw Azerbaijan perpetrate war crimes against the region’s Armenian population, and resulted in Azerbaijan seizing control of 70% of Karabakh’s territory.”
The proclamation salutes the Artsakh Armenians “efforts to exercise the right to self-determination and live free from violence and repression, and by recognizing the government of Artsakh, the international community can help put to rest this century-old conflict.”
Arizona House Speaker Toma then affirms support for the “Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination, and its continuing efforts to develop as a free and independent nation, in order to guarantee its citizens those rights inherent in a free and independent society; and be it further, I encourage the United States government to strengthen and solidify our country’s economic and cultural relationship with the Artsakh Republic and its citizens and continue to promote the humanitarian and economic rehabilitation of the region.”