Ingrid & Anders

ANC UK meets the new British Ambassador to Armenia

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. Over the past few weeks, we have worked on a variety of issues from meeting with the British Ambassador to Armenia, to direct correspondence with FCDO and your local MPs, as well as continuing to raise the important issue of our POWs.
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 provides a brief update on the actions we have taken over the past three weeks. 

Census 2021: shine the spotlight on the Armenian community

The 2021 Census, which is being launched on 21 May, presents an important opportunity to shine the spotlight on the Armenian community and demonstrate the strength of the Armenian diaspora in the UK. 
Every household in England and Wales is required to complete the census by law. By demonstrating the number of Armenians living in the UK we can ensure that local and national governments take into consideration the views of our community when making decisions.
We would therefore like to urge all UK Armenians to respond to the question about ethnicity/background with the words “Armenian” or “British-Armenian”. You can do this by selecting “Other ethnic group or background” and then typing in “Armenian” in the space provided rather than selecting the pre-existing criteria. 
Please do spread the word and encourage your family & friends to do the same!

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!
ANC UK met with the incoming British Ambassador to Armenia

Our actions on your behalf

Over the last few weeks, 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. ANC UK met with the incoming British Ambassador to Armenia, John Gallagher on 18 February. We discussed many issues including the 44-day war, the wider Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the issue of Artsakh’s self-determination, the Armenian Genocide
recognition, as well as the importance of the UK’s positive engagement in the region which can improve the image of the UK and future UK-Armenia ties.John also set out the UK’s vision to support good governance, opportunities for women and collaboration on climate change. This is a great new chapter for UK-Armenian relations. John will be moving to Armenia with his wife and two young children in March 2021 and we wished him success in his future role.
2. Following months of active lobbying, ANC UK received a confidential letter from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office setting out a newly developed UK position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which suggested that the UK backs the ‘future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will’. This was the first time the UK has backed a solution that respects the wishes of Artsakh‘s Armenian population. This view was later reaffirmed by Wendy Morton MP, FCDO minister, during her visit to Armenia and in an interview she gave to the Public TV of Armenia, as well as in our call with the incoming British Ambassador to Armenia, John Gallagher. The shift marks a victory in ANC UK’s work after months of campaigning and correspondence with the FCDO.
3. ANC UK contributed to a Europe-wide HAYDATOLOGY course organised by the ANC Austrian, which provided an opportunity for over 70 young people from 13 European countries, including the UK, to do a deep dive into Armenian affairs. Topics included the consequences and impact of the recent conflict, human rights issues in Armenia and Artsakh, the issue of self-determination of Artsakh the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the steps that diasporan young people within our wide diaspora to respond to the current crisis. There was a wide range of speakers from Armenia, the diaspora and beyond, including Apraham Kasparian, Aram Hamparian, Arman Tatoyan, Anna Aghajanian, Costas Mavrides MEP and Prof Dibyesh Anand.
4. Through our lobbying work, ANC UK received strongly encouraging comments from Feryal Clark MP and Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs taking on Turkey and Erdogan‘s aggression, vowing action to ensure that their aggressive invasion of Artsakh is not repeated elsewhere.

Next steps

This week, ANC UK has organised a meeting with the APPG for Armenia to provide further information on the current situation in Artsakh. John Gallagher, the incoming British Ambassador for Armenia will also join the meeting. The MPs and the Ambassador received a detailed report from ANC UK and will also hear from Arman Tatoyan, the current Human Rights Defender of Armenia. An update will be provided in our next newsletter. 
As part of our campaign for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, this year we are planning a campaign of direct engagement with MPs, including by arranging meetings, writing letters and sending information to help British politicians understand more about the issue. Get in touch if you would like to be involved. 
We will also continue 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. The committee has so far worked on volunteer capacity and we would like to raise funds to employ full-time staff in the near future and need our community to assist us in this. 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.
4. Get in touch with us by responding to this email if you are interested in becoming a rapid responder, giving you the opportunity to be more involved in our campaigning work and allowing us to use your name in contacting MPs quickly and directly.
5. Get in touch if you would like to engage with your MP on the issue of the Armenian Genocide and would like support in contacting them. 

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