At its May 2021 Executive Board meeting, delegates of the California Democratic Party officially passed a resolution “Urging Release of Armenian POWs and Civilian Hostages; Divesting from, Condemning, Sanctioning Turkey and Azerbaijan,” an item co-sponsored by more than 30 delegates.

The full resolution is linked here, and includes links to additional resources and background information for public education and awareness. The language of the official resolution is listed below:

RESOLUTION 21-04.169 (ASATRYAN, AD43)

Urging Release of Armenian POWs and Civilian Hostages; Divesting from, Condemning, Sanctioning Turkey and Azerbaijan

WHEREAS on September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, launched an unprovoked attack on Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) with large-caliber weapons and thousands of mercenaries recruited from Syria, targeting not only military personnel, but civilian-populated centers, schools, churches, hospitals, and forests, while killing and injuring women, children, the elderly, and journalists, in violation of international law, thereby committing war crimes; and despite Azerbaijan’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions and its commitments in signing the ceasefire statement of November 9, Azerbaijan continues to detain approximately 200 Armenian POWs and civilian hostages, some of whom have been tortured and beheaded per Human Rights Watch reports and independent international media;

WHEREAS California is home to the largest Armenian American population in the U.S., over 1 million who suffer the effects of the Armenian Genocide denial campaign by Turkey and the 2020 attacks; and California, in accordance with principles of human rights, has adopted legislation to divest from South Africa, Sudan, and Iran, imposing economic consequences upon regimes violating human rights;

WHEREAS in 2019 U.S. Congress recognized the Armenian Genocide while California annually commemorates the Armenian Genocide, and in 2014 recognized Artsakh’s independence and its people’s right to self-determination; and the U.S. provided $120 million American tax dollars in security aid to Azerbaijan for FY2018/2019, misused by Azerbaijan in attacking Artsakh and for propagating hate crimes against Armenian cultural centers in California where vandals and arsonists marked the destructions with Azerbaijani flags.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party condemns Turkey and Azerbaijan for war crimes committed during 2020 attacks on Artsakh and Armenia; urges Congress and the Biden Administration to sanction Turkey and Azerbaijan; calls upon Azerbaijan to release all POWs and captured civilians; and urges the Secretary of State to engage with Azerbaijani authorities to return POWs and hostages.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party calls on the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers’ Retirement System to take socially responsible steps and divest all public employee retirement funds in investment vehicles issued by Turkey and Azerbaijan to ensure that California is not complicit in denying the Armenian Genocide and war crimes committed in 2020, until Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide; the people of Artsakh realize their right to self-determination on their indigenous lands.

Author(s): Elen Asatryan, AD 43
Sponsored By: Elen Asatryan , AD 43, Adam B Schiff, AD 43, Suzie Abajian, AD 41, Vanuhi Vartanian, AD 43, Hans Johnson, AD 51, Cindy Montoya, AD 41, Ellen Finkelpearl, AD 41, John Harabedian, AD 41, Josue Barnes, AD 41, Drexel Heard, AD 46, Koreen Cea, AD 51, Todd Jones, AD 41, Jessica Craven, AD 51, Linda Perez, AD 43, Malcolm Johnson, AD 43, Kev Abazajian, AD 74, Gina Clayton-Tarvin, AD 72, Sean Abajian, AD 41, Melissa Taylor, AD 41, Rebecca Wolfersberger, AD 45, Luis Lopez, AD 51, Mia Livas Porter, AD 51, Marco Flores, AD 53, Tina Fredericks, AD 41, Steven Fisher, AD 43, Karen Suarez, AD 41, Mary Ann Lutz, AD 41, Kathleen Patterson, AD 41, Angelica Duenas, AD 39, Tim Wendler, AD 41, Mindy Pfeiffer, AD 41, Jacinta Lincke, AD 41, Kenneth Armstrong, AD 41, Jason Small, AD 45, Thom OShaughnessy.

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