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Senator Peters Helps Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Seeking Information Regarding Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Violations

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) has joined a group of his colleagues in introducing a bipartisan resolution to require that the Secretary of State provide a report on Azerbaijan’s human rights practices, including concerning allegations of human rights violations committed against ethnic Armenians, such as unlawful killings, torture, restrictions on freedom of movement, the illegal detention of political prisoners, and ethnic cleansing.

“The United States must hold the Azeri government accountable for the suffering they’ve inflicted on the Armenian people,” said Senator Peters. “I’ve called on the Administration to end aid to the Azeri government and to sanction officials associated with the attacks against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and we must continue to apply pressure until they end their aggression in the region.”   


Since Azerbaijan’s large-scale military offensive on September 19, 2023 against the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians have fled to Armenia in fear of further persecution. Before the attack, Azerbaijani forces blockaded the Lachin corridor, the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and the outside world, to prevent imports of essential goods, humanitarian convoys, and all passages of food, fuel, and medicine from the Red Cross to the ethnic Armenians that lived in the territory. 

Within 30 days of enacting the resolution, the State Department would need to produce a report that includes a description of all steps taken by the State Department to promote the protection of human rights by the Azerbaijan government and would require an assessment on whether continued security assistance to Azerbaijan is necessary. The report would also need to evaluate whether U.S. assistance has been used to support Azerbaijani aggression against the Armenian people, and provide a determination on whether the Azerbaijani government or its officials have met the criteria for further sanctions.

Senator Peters recently visited the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and viewed firsthand the 10-month long blockade of the Lachin corridor. In response to his visit, he introduced the Armenian Protection Act, which passed in the Senate in November 2023. The Armenian Protection Act would end U.S. assistance to the Azerbaijani government that is currently allowed under a waiver to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Although the Freedom Support Act generally prohibits most bilateral assistance to Azerbaijan, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, waiver authority was added to Section 907 granting additional discretion to the President to provide aid to Azerbaijan. The waiver authority has been invoked annually by Presidents of both parties since 2002 and the Biden Administration is still reviewing its waiver authority for 2023.

Peters also recently joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers calling for the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. State Department to impose sanctions on certain Azerbaijani government officials associated with the military attacks against – and brutal blockade of – Nagorno-Karabakh. A copy of the letter can be found here.