Rhode Island Legislature Supports Freedom of Artsakh

State House Calls on U.S. Government to Recognize NKR Independence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (A.W.)—The Rhode Island House passed a resolution on May 17 calling on the U.S. president and Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR). The resolution also encouraged the republic’s “continued efforts to develop as a free and independent nation,” and praised Artsakh’s (Karabagh) “constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems.” (Read the full text here.)

Speaker Fox welcomes Avetisyan (L, standing) (Photo by Berge Ara Zobian)

“I thank the Rhode Island House for passing this resolution in support of Karabagh’s aspirations for freedom, and hope that the legislature’s commitment to our shared values of human rights and justice will set an example for other legislatures in the U.S. and beyond,” said Robert Avetisyan, the Permanent Representative of NKR to the U.S. and Canada.

The resolution was voted on the House floor in the presence of Avetisyan, whom House speaker Gordon Fox (D) warmly welcomed in his introductory remarks. Fox also welcomed a delegation from the local Armenian community accompanying Avetisyan: the chairman of the Armenian Cultural Association of R.I., Hagop Donoyan; the youth advisor to the AYF of R.I., Levon Attarian; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sts. Vartanantz Church, Stephen Elmasian; and a member of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee, Ani Haroian.

Dozens of local Armenian Americans filled the gallery of the House during the session.

Almost concurrently, on Capitol Hill, Congressmen James Langevin (D-R.I.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) made statements on the House floor in support of the people of NKR. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), in turn, issued statements.

“It is more important than ever that the United States maintain a principled stand for peace in this region, show that democracy can be born from conflict, and support Nagorno-Karabagh,” said Langevin.  “It is my sincerest hope that Nagorno-Karabagh’s right to self-determination can be affirmed without further loss of life.”

“Twenty years ago, the people of Nagorno-Karabagh fought and died for their independence from Soviet Azeri repression and discrimination,” said Cicilline.  “I join the people of Nagorno-Karabagh today in recognizing the 20th anniversary of their independence and the formation of the Republic’s Army and the liberation of Shushi.”

Representative Avetisyan continued his meetings in Rhode Island over the next several days, pursuing economic development opportunities for NKR. His visit concluded on May 20 with a community-wide celebration of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi.

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Khatchig Mouradian

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian is the Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor at Columbia University. Previously, he served as the Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor at CSU Fresno (Fall 2016 Semester). In 2015-2016, Mouradian was a visiting assistant professor at the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University, where he also served as the program coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Program at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR). Since 2014, Mouradian has taught courses on imperialism, mass violence, human rights, concentration camps, urban space and conflict in the Middle East, and collective memory in the History and Sociology departments at Rutgers and at Worcester State University. Mouradian holds a PhD in History from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. Mouradian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2007-2014.

7 Comments

  1. Artzakh…Our Art-Land on the Zakh (Left)

    Let us breathe deeper a little-bit…
    Exhale our pains
    On the rageful waves of the Atlantic
    To turn blue clouds…
    Travelling further east and be as soft rain
    Reaching where the Bleeding Land
    Are still washing its blood…
    To clear the mothers’ pain
    And settle their souls
    Who lost their youthful-years…!
    On that small rocky-sand…
    Which belonged to them
    Before people knew one God…!

    Sylva-MD-Poetry

  2. I am happy of course for this resolution and the fine Rhode Island house urging the US to recognize it as well; however what good is it if the people in Armenia are leaving the country one by one, because the government in there are belligerently filling their pockets with the hard earned monies of the people and are being impossible for being able to rule the country democratically and with fairness, while the best part and the bulk of the people that are extremely patriotic, are left hungry and desolate. What good is it??? The most important aspect is for the people to remain in the country; both countries -Armenia proper and Artsakh -.

    What are our leaders in Diaspora are doing about this? Why couldn’t we see to it that a much more patriotic, fair, democratic and people friendly government would take control of the county????

    THIS IS MY MAIN CONCERN AND IT SHOULD BE THE WORRY AND THE NUMBER ONE CONCERNTO EVERY ARMENIAN ALIVE!!

    • Hi Servart …
      Can’t they have lessons from other tyrants…
      Who lost their dignity…
      I think they are still children
      Want more toys to play with
      A real tragedy …
      Who can advice them…
      They can no longer see…
      What everyone must face…!
      As Al-Mir’ri said…
      We should send Al-Mirri’s stanzas to them …
      May be they would awake…!

      Sylva

  3. Messer Bako Sahakyan of Artsakh however seems pretty much free of corruption and I am thankful to him and his government for it; however some of the population, but thankfully not the majority seem to prefer to migrate to Armenia proper instead of remaining in Artsakh and building their own lands. I hope that instead, more of our people would migrate to Artsakh and make the country flourish.

  4. I agree with you Seervart, although it is important to have a free Artsakh and to end this problem, but the big problem is our corrupt leaders in Armenia, who are leading our country according to their rules. They do whatever they want. The last example is the new elections, which has nothing to do with the voting. I dont think people had chosen them. They did not do anything good to our country and, people know this. They killed and put innocent men to the jails. After all these injustices who can believe that majority would vote to these crooks?

  5. There are good evidence for oil deposits in the Mardakert province because north of the Mardakert province is the Tartar Rayon which is Azeri occupied land and the towns of Mir Bashir and Maragha (town where the Maragha massacre took place) have oil deposits. This is the major reason why the two major Azeri attacks in 2008 and 2010 took place. Oil exploration must begin because the Armenian military needs to have their own oil supply. Armenia and the NKR must build a border fortification system along the border with Azerbaijan similar to a modernized version of the Maginot Line and this must go across the entire border for it to be successful. Maybe the Armenians could get the Chinese to invest.

  6. What solutions do you propose Seervart? go to the leadership in your community and propose a few of them – plant the seed, you never know how great it may grow…..

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