Earlier this year, the City council voted to name the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Granville Avenue “Republic of Artsakh Square,” in honor of the courageous people of that democratic state, now struggling to survive the ninth month of a brutal blockade imposed by the dictatorship of Azerbaijan. The intersection is also home to the Los Angeles Consulate of Azerbaijan, which continues to deny the people of Artsakh the necessities of life by blocking their only access to Armenia and the outside world. This month, the first reported death by starvation has occurred in Artsakh’s capital, and the reported rate of miscarriages has tripled due to malnutrition and lack of medical care.
Council President Paul Krekorian thanked Councilmember Traci Park, who introduced the motion naming the square, and represents the surrounding neighborhoods of West L.A. The Councilmembers were joined by Artsakh’s Permanent Representative to the United States, Robert Avetisyan; by Glendale City Councilmember Elen Asatryan, and former California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian.
“People ask me why they should care about this. It’s so far away, on the other side of the world,” said Council President Krekorian. “I tell them this: America stands for sovereignty and democracy and self-determination. It’s the basic core value on which our nation was founded. The people of Artsakh declared their independence from the Soviet Union, and since then they have demonstrated their commitment to democracy. And throughout that time they have been under threat by the dictator of Azerbaijan. The former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Manuel Ocampo, has declared that genocide is occurring right now in Artsakh.”
The Los Angeles City Council has called on the United States government to act now to end the blockade, sanction members of the Azerbaijan government and provide immediate humanitarian aid.