WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) held a consequential and emotional dialogue this week with her constituent Gev Iskajyan, a resident of Montebello, California who has been blockaded in the Republic of Artsakh for over 45 days as a result of Azerbaijan’s genocidal campaign to rid the indigenous Armenian population from their historic homeland. For over a year, Iskajyan has been serving as a senior professional aide for the Armenian National Committee of Artsakh in Stepanakert, the capital of the Republic of Artsakh.
“Given the scale and scope of the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh, I am proud that my Congresswoman – Linda Sanchez – has already taken steps and has pledged her support to end the genocidal blockade instituted by Azerbaijan,” expressed Iskajyan after holding a video conference with the Congresswoman and her senior aides on Capitol Hill. “As the people of Artsakh stare down a threat to their very existence, I look forward to continuing to work with Congresswoman Sanchez and her colleagues in the House and Senate to pressure the Biden administration to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its aggression and end the blockade of Artsakh,” added Iskajyan.
Earlier this year, Congresswoman Sanchez had issued a statement on social media sharing that “Since December, Azerbaijan has blocked the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia—leaving thousands without access to food, health care, and other necessities. These actions are inhumane and unacceptable. I join my colleagues in calling for an immediate end to the blockade.”
Since the meeting, Rep. Sanchez has joined as an original co-sponsor on ANCA-backed anti-blockade resolution, set to be formally introduced in the House of Representatives this week, condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, and calling for the Biden Administration to take tangible action to hold Baku’s regime accountable for its flagrant violations of international law. The resolution calls for the enforcement of Section 907 restrictions on military assistance to Azerbaijan, the imposition of sanctions on Azerbaijani officials complicit in the enforcement of the blockade and commissioning of war crimes, and urges the Administration ensure emergency humanitarian assistance is made available to the Armenians of Artsakh.
Participating in the call between Congresswoman Sanchez and Iskajyan were ANCA National Board member Aida Dimejian, ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yermiyan and ANCA Program Director Alex Galitsky. Congresswoman Sanchez, who was first elected to Congress in 2002, represents thousands of Armenian American residents who live across California’s 38th Congressional District – which includes Montebello, home to the first Armenian-American community in Los Angeles dating back to the early 20th century.
“Congresswoman Sanchez’s district is home to a proud Armenian-American community, with Montebello being the first place Armenians sought refuge in Southern California following the Armenian Genocide,” remarked Dimejian. “As the Armenian people once again stare down the threat of genocide, we express our gratitude to Congresswoman Sanchez for her enduring commitment to representing the voice of her community and constituents in calling for urgent action to end this genocidal blockade.”
Since the first day of the blockade, the ANCA has been working with the White House, State Department and Congressional leaders – urging them to stop US military assistance to Azerbaijan and to send emergency humanitarian assistance to Artsakh. Thousands have already used the ANCA online portal to call, tweet and write the White House and Congressional leaders to immediately address this enfolding Artsakh humanitarian crisis.