WORCESTER, Mass.—In a powerful speech delivered to hundreds of his constituents gathered in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts on Friday evening during a driving rainstorm to raise awareness of the military aggression of Azerbaijan and Turkey, Congressman Jim McGovern proudly declared that the United States should formally recognize Artsakh as an independent nation. The gathering in support of Artsakh, held on October 16, 2020, was organized by the local Worcester AYF and ARF Chapters and attended by constituents who live in the 2nd Congressional District of Massachusetts, which has been represented by Congressman McGovern since he was first elected in 1996.
The full remarks delivered by Congressman McGovern are provided below – including his comment that – “We must impose individual sanctions on the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan, freeze all their assets in U.S. banks and financial institutions and declare Artsakh an independent nation once and for all.”
The ANCA has led an aggressive national campaign, securing over one million messages to Capitol Hill encouraging Congress to enact crippling sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan for committing war crimes – as outlined in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that became law in 2016.
“As always, our community is proud of Congressman McGovern who has always stood on the side of justice,” remarked George Aghjayan, chairman of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Central Massachusetts. “Congressman McGovern calling for the US to recognize the independent Republic of Artsakh is both timely, prudent, and just. On behalf of the thousands of Armenian Americans who call his congressional district home – we thank Congressman McGovern for his leadership on this human rights issue,” added Aghjayan.
Nearly 100 Congressional members have made statements condemning the attacks and now the ANCA urges that members take the next step – following Congressman McGovern’s lead – in calling for recognition of Artsakh and sanctions on both Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Remarks of Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) at the Rally for Artsakh held on October 16, 2020 and organized by the Worcester, MA chapters of the AYF and ARF.
My good friend, the late civil rights leader, Congressman John Lewis, he used to always say, when you see something wrong, make it right, when you see injustice, take a stand, and fight for justice. He used to call it good trouble, that is why I am wearing this mask, in honor of him. Good people, not just within the Armenian community, but good people all around the world, who care about your rights – ought to be part of this fight for justice for the Armenian people that are in Artsakh.
My friends, in spite of the bombs, in spite of the shelling and rocket mortars, in spite of the cluster munitions, Artsakh still stands. The people of Artsakh are still standing. But they need our help. They need humanitarian aid and they need the United States to say very clearly, to Azerbaijan, to say clearly to Turkey, to say clearly to the mercenaries, stop the bombing, stop the attacks – against innocent civilians. Honor the ceasefire. And not just say it, but demand it.
And if Turkey and Azerbaijan continue to ignore the ceasefire, continue to target cities and towns, continue to bomb innocent civilians, then the United States of America must cut off all military aid to Azerbaijan. We must stop all sales of military equipment and arms to Turkey. We must impose individual sanctions on the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan. Freeze all their assets in US banks and financial institutions, and declare Artsakh an independent nation once and for all. Today and every day, like you, I stand with the people of Artsakh. I stand with you and we all stand together for the free and independent people of Artsakh.
And one final thing, and we need to make sure this message gets heard loud and clear in the current administration in Washington. If the United States stands for anything it should stand out loud and foursquare for human rights. We cannot be silent in the face of what is happening in Artsakh. We have to take a stand, we have to be clear, and we have to fight for peace and justice in human rights in Artsakh and in the world. Thank you.
Congressman Jim McGovern, has long been a great friend of the ANC of Central Massachusetts and received an A+ rating from the ANCA in 2018 for being a champion for his Armenian American constituents. Last year, Congressman McGovern was awarded the coveted ANCA Eastern Region Freedom Award at the organization’s 13th annual banquet held in Lowell, Massachusetts.