The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. LANSING, Mich. — At approximately 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 14, after a “marathon” Tuesday session that extended through the night, the House of Representatives of Michigan passed a resolution (Resolution 319) condemning Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s aggression against the Armenians of Artsakh.
The resolution, the first of its kind on state level, was introduced by State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham). It is important to add that Michigan’s legislature is one of a handful of state legislatures in the country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, and as seen in the resolution, Artsakh is referenced as an independent country.
The resolution, after outlining the history of the conflict, states:
“…now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we condemn Azerbaijan’s coordinated offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh and denounce Turkish interference in the conflict; and be it further
Resolved, That we urge the United States Department of State to work with the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Republic of Artsakh to achieve a long-lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict; and be it further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the United States Secretary of State, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and members of the Michigan congressional delegation.”
Manoogian answered some follow-up questions in regard to this resolution.
“I introduced this legislation, after having worked with partners and stakeholders in the community to ensure we got the language and tone right. After working across the aisle, we were able to advance this resolution to the floor, and it passed on a voice vote, so there were no votes recorded to individual members. The body as a whole voted to support it.
“Resolutions from the statehouse convey to our state, to our congressional delegation, and to the federal government what the priorities are for our legislature. Since this was the first resolution to pass a state-level body here in the U.S. regarding what’s happening in Artsakh, legislators from other states have reached out to follow suit,” she said.
While a bill in Congress has been introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Ca), and the Los Angeles City Council has passed a measure deploring the Azerbaijani attack, no state legislation had proposed or passed such a bill.
Manoogian added, “The Michigan House of Representatives was the first legislative body at the state level to pass a resolution condemning Azerbaijan’s aggression against Artsakh, and for Turkey’s involvement. Our office is always happy to share ideas for legislation, whether it is regarding Armenian issues or otherwise, and we’re working with our counterparts in the Illinois legislature, as well as in Pennsylvania, to help them pass similar legislation.”
The resolution is not legally binding. However, Manoogian noted, the resolution “was transmitted to our congressional delegation and to Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo. We hope that our action as a state encourages other states to also pass similar legislation, and that we were able to raise awareness through press coverage and within this legislative body about what is happening in Artsakh.”
And finally, she noted in a written statement, “I am grateful that my colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives saw fit to condemn Azerbaijan and Turkey for their ongoing promotion of violence against the Armenian people of Artsakh. As the world quietly watches the actions of Azerbaijan and its allies from afar, the passage of HR 319 has shown that Michiganders stand united with Armenians and the Republic of Artsakh against this senseless violence and support the right of self-determination to which every sovereign people is entitled. I hope this resolution might be a catalyst for our federal government to take a more active role in pursuit of a long-term peaceful resolution to this conflict and to quit abdicating the United States’ role as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group.
“As the descendent of Armenian Genocide survivors, I know how important it is to uplift the struggle of everyday Artsakhstis who are simply trying to build lives for themselves in their own country. Knowing there is more to be done beyond the passage of this resolution, I will continue to use my platform to raise awareness about the violence perpetrated once again by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the indigenous ethnic Armenians of the region.”