BURBANK, CA – On April 25, 2016 at 6PM, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America will host a community forum at the Taglyan Cultural Center with special guest Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. As the evening’s keynote speaker, Schiff will address the community on the recent acts of military aggression perpetrated by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Hundreds of community leaders and members are expected to take part in the forum.

Earlier this month – between April 2nd and 5th, Azerbaijan’s military committed acts of aggression committed against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh, including targeting civilian school children and the elderly. The massive scale attack on the military bases of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic as well as Armenia’s bordering villages have claimed the lives of tens of soldiers and civilians, with hundreds more injured. The premeditated military attacks on Nagorno Karabakh have been targeted on what is historically Armenian land.

On April 10, 2016, through mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan exchanged bodies of the fallen soldiers. The bodies of 18 servicemen transferred by Azerbaijan had signs of torture and mutilation, which is a flagrant manifestation of inhumanity counter to the laws and customs of war and in violation of the international law.

His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of one of the largest Armenian communities outside of the Republic of Armenia has called out to Diocesan parishes and Armenian-Americans to actively engage with community organizations and governmental bodies to protest Azerbaijan’s willful disruption of the Nagorno Karabakh peace process and advocate for the cessation of military activity.

US government officials have also voiced their concerns and have released the following statements. In comments after the attacks, Schiff stated: “I am deeply disturbed by and condemn this terrible new escalation in Azerbaijan’s aggression against Nagorno Karabakh in the form of a significant military assault.”

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