Ingrid & Anders

ANC UK Newsletter No 5

Dear Members of the Armenian community in the United Kingdom,
Thank you for your continued support of ANC UK in our efforts to influence and guide UK policy on the issue of Artsakh. We will continue to represent the interests of the Armenian community in the UK political arena to ensure that the voice of Armenians in the UK remains strong. This newsletter will provide a brief update on the actions we have taken since the beginning of the New Year.

Our campaign: Act to Help POWs

Hundreds of prisoners of war continue to be held captive by the Azeris over two months after the war ended. 
Our campaign “Release all POW’s now and stop the inhumane treatment of those held captive by Azerbaijan and allow Artsakh and Armenia to collect their dead” continues to be of importance. We have refreshed the letter to ensure that it contains the most up to date information. 
Many of you have already written letters to your MPs to raise this issue, and if you haven’t done so yet, we urge you to click on the link below and send a letter today – it won’t take more than a couple of minutes of your time. You can also edit the letter to add a personal message about why this issue is important to you.
Condemn Azerbaijan for not releasing the hundreds of POWs and the inhumane treatment of those held captive by Azerbaijan by writing to your MP today. 
Write to your MP now!
A debate was held at the House of Lords on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. 

Our actions on your behalf

Since the beginning of the New Year, we have continued to raise our concerns with the government and raise awareness of the situation on the ground through media coverage and events. Here are the actions we have taken on your behalf:
1. Following the unacceptable behaviour from the Turkish Everton striker, Cenk Tosun, who used the ‘Grey Wolves’ gesture to celebrate the win against Rotherham, we wrote strong letters to the Football Association and Everton Football Club, urging them to condemn Mr Tosun’s actions and to disassociate themselves from the Grey Wolves. 

2. ANC UK put out a
press release highlighting that 30 years on from the Baku Pogrom, Azerbaijan continues with their promotion of genocide against Armenia, now releasing stamps that depict the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh). 

3. The House of Lords saw a debate on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday 18 January. Member of the APPG on Armenia,
Baroness Cox quizzed the government on the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Members discussed the UK’s plans to call Azerbaijan to account, and what access organisations like the International Committee of the Red Cross are being given to help guard against ethnic cleansing. Several members of the Lords stood up against genocide, cultural destruction, war crimes, POW abuses and other related issues. You can watch the full debate on Parliament TV, read the transcript on Hansard or check the highlights on the ANC UK Facebook page
4. We held a joint event with other regional ANC organisations which featured distinguished academics and experts, including Fr. Dcn. Andrew Bennett as moderator and Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, Simon Maghakyan and Artak Beglaryan as panellists. You can view the event on the ANC UK Facebook page.
In addition, the following important developments took place: 
5. On 11 January 2021 European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) has issued a position in response to the statement made following the meeting between Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan on January 11, arguing that it ignores the needs of the Armenian side and deepens the uncertainly concerning its security.
6. On 15 January 2021, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Ara Aivazian held a phone conversation with Wendy Morton, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for European Neighbourhood and the Americas. During the conversation, the sides touched upon the situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the steps being undertaken to eliminate the consequences of the Azerbaijani aggression against Artsakh. 
7. An important amendment to the Trade Bill relevant to Armenia was introduced by the House of Lords, but did not pass in the House of Commons. 
  • The Trade Bill was introduced into the Commons in 2019, to provide the foundation for future trade agreements post-Brexit. 
  • The House of Lords suggested amendments to the Bill. The key amendment was No 3 introduced by Lord Alton “Agreements with states accused of committing genocide” which in effect gives the UK High Court the ability to strike down UK trade agreements where the other country is engaged in genocide. 
  • A related amendment is Amendment No 1, which calls for Parliament to have full scrutiny powers over trade agreements, including to request the human rights records of relevant countries
  • The amendments successfully passed through the House of Lords in December, however, on 19 January they did not pass through the House of Commons. The genocide amendment 3 narrowly defeated by 319 to 308 and the human rights issues 364 to 267. 
  • The importance of the amendments no 1 and 3 for Armenia was that it could have deterred the UK to engage in trade with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Unfortunately, these amendments didn’t pass. Lord Alton said, “the fight doesn’t stop here. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that Uighurs and other victims of alleged genocide have a route to justice through UK courts”. 
  • A revised amendment is now being worked on.

Next steps

We will continue on supporting the APPG for Armenia to keep raising the issue of Artsakh in the Parliament and put pressure on the government to take appropriate action, as they have already done during the debate in the House of Lords this week. 
We will also provide direct support to Tim Loughton MP in the drafting and promotion of the private members’ bill on the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which he mentioned during our latest event.
We will continue to take action on your behalf to raise awareness, influence and guide UK policy and represent the collective British Armenian viewpoint on the issue of Artsakh. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

How you can help:

1. Participate in our campaign by writing to your MP to raise awareness about what is happening to POWs. ANC has templates on our website. It’s just a click of a button.
Write to your MP now!
2. Write to your MP using a personal message, with a compelling story about why the issue matters to you, asking them for a meeting. If you secure a meeting, ANC UK will be happy to brief you ahead of this and provide you with any necessary materials.
3. Please consider donating to ANC UK and help us continue our work. With everything that we’ve all been through and all that lies ahead, we need your faith, your friendship, and financial generosity more than ever before.

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