QUEENS, NY—Representatives from the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of New York met with House Appropriations Committee member Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY-6), to discuss the vital role of continued US aid to Artsakh, as the Committee prepares to present its version of the Fiscal Year 2021 foreign aid bill next week.
Participating in the July 2nd Zoom meeting were ANC of NY chair Nazareth Markarian, constituents Neiri Amirian of Forest Hills, NY and Tamar Harutunian, Esq. of Flushing, NY, as well as ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan and ANCA Eastern Region Communications Director Tamar Gregorian.
Together, the ANC NY team outlined the successes of The HALO Trust’s demining efforts in Artsakh, which, through US funding, has removed 61,000 landmines and cleared 33,000 acres of land over the past 20 years. The advocates argued that the State Department efforts to stop funding the lifesaving Artsakh program puts innocent lives in danger and undermines efforts to establish a lasting peace in the region.
“On behalf of the ANC of New York, I know I speak for myself and my fellow advocates in saying that it was an honor to have met with Rep. Meng and her staff,” said Markarian. “As Armenian Americans, we have a pivotal role to play in the process and that includes educating our representatives on our important issues, especially one such as this which at its core is a human rights issue. Ensuring the safety of the people of Artsakh through this aid package is integral to the peaceful future we want to see become a reality in both Artsakh and Armenia,” he continued.
Earlier this year, Yerimyan submitted testimony to both the U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Committees urging that the FY2021 Foreign Aid Bill include language stating that “not less that $10,000,000 shall be made available to: Fund demining and landmine risk education programs in Nagorno Karabakh, and; Support Nagorno Karabakh-based regional rehabilitation services for survivors of landmine injuries and other individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities.”
“THE HALO Trust’s de-mining program has touched the lives of over 130,000 Artsakh residents – thanks to over 20 years of Congressional support for Artsakh aid,” stated Yerimyan. “With a mine-free Artsakh within sight, stopping U.S. funding for the program now, unnecessarily endangers innocent lives and undermines the peace process. Armenian American outreach is essential to ensuring that Congress act decisively and include Artsakh demining and rehabilitation assistance in its FY2021 Foreign Aid Bill.”
This meeting with Rep. Meng was part of the ANCA’s ongoing nationwide action campaign in support of the $10 million Artsakh appropriation. Over 10,000 constituents have already reached out to their Senators and Representatives to advance this effort. To send a letter or to be connected to your legislators through the ANCA Quick Connect call system, please visit anca.org/aid.