Rhode Island House supports NKR recognition
Published: Saturday May 19, 2012
Providence - On May 17, 2012, the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed a resolution introduced by Representatives Fox, Mattiello, Corvese, McNamara, and Bennett that calls on the U.S. President and Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. The resolution also encouraged the republic's "continued efforts to develop as a free and independent nation," and praised Artsakh's "constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems."
"I thank the Rhode Island House for passing this resolution in support of Karabakh'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 NKR representative Robert Avetisyan.
The resolution was voted on the House floor in the presence of Artsakh Representative and a delegation from the local Armenian community: Chairman of the Armenian Cultural Association of R.I. Hagop Donoyan, youth advisor to the AYF of R.I. Levon Attarian, member of the board of trustees of the Sts. Vartanantz Church Stephen Elmasian, and member of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee Ani Haroian.
Almost concurrently, on U.S. Capitol Hill, Representatives James Langevin (D-R.I.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) made statements on the House floor in support of the people of Artsakh. U.S. 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-Karabakh," said Representative Langevin. "It is my sincerest hope that Nagorno-Karabakh's right to self-determination can be affirmed without further loss of life."
"20 years ago, the people of Nagorno Karabakh fought and died for their independence from Soviet Azeri repression and discrimination," said Representative Cicilline. "I join the people of Nagorno Karabakh today in recognizing the 20th anniversary of their independence and the formation of the Republic's Army, and the liberation of Shushi." Representative Cicilline also referred to the resolution of the R.I. State House of Representatives on supporting the NKR's independence . (See the video of the statement at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9vnm6QsCAv4 )
Meanwhile, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee proposed in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill to provide "at least" $5 million for assistance to humanitarian and development programs in Nagorno Karabakh. The Committee also restated the importance of confidence-building measures and urged "all parties (to the NK conflict) to refrain from threats of violence."
"We are deeply grateful to our congressional friends for their continuing support of Artsakh on its path towards strengthening freedom, democracy and economic prosperity", said NKR Representative.
The full text of the R.I. House resolution appears below. You can also find it on the Rhode Island House of Representatives webpage at: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/billtext12/housetext12/h8180.pdf
2012 -- H 8180
S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2012
H O U S E R E S O L U T I O N
SUPPORTING THE NAGORNO-KARABAKH REPUBLIC'S EFFORTS TO DEVELOP AS A FREE AND INDEPENDENT NATION
Introduced By: Representatives Fox, Mattiello, Corvese, McNamara, and Bennett
Date Introduced: May 17, 2012
Referred To: House read and passed
WHEREAS, The Region of Artsakh, also known as Mountainous Karabagh, is located in the Transcaucasus and has historically been Armenian territory, populated by an overwhelming majority of Armenians; and
WHEREAS, In 1923, the communist dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, in violation of the national, territorial, and human rights of the Armenian people, annexed part of the region of Artsakh which was composed of a 95 percent Armenian population, and joined it with the region of Soviet Azerbaijan; and
WHEREAS, For decades, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, having arbitrarily been severed from Armenia and forced under Soviet Azerbaijani administration, peacefully demonstrated for national independence and individual freedom and against Soviet Azerbaijani repression and discrimination; and
WHEREAS, In the years immediately preceding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's declaration of independence, these peaceful demonstrations were met with acts of violent repression by Soviet Azerbaijani forces who refused to allow the reestablishment of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh's national independence; and
WHEREAS, During the repressive and violent events leading to the birth of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, ethnic Armenians were killed in Sumgait (February, 1988), Kirovabad (November, 1988), and Baku (January, 1990), by Soviet Azerbaijani forces. Over 350,000 Armenians were forcibly deported from Azerbaijan; and
WHEREAS, In July of 1988, within months of the Sumgait tragedy, the United States Senate unanimously passed Amendment 2690 to the Fiscal Year 1989 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (H.R. 4782), concerning the Karabakh conflict and calling on the Soviet government to "respect the legitimate aspirations of the Armenian people ..." and noted that "dozens of Armenians have been killed and hundreds injured during the recent unrests ..."; and