Armenian American superstar Cher (Cherylin Sarkissian) and physician, Emmy-nominated film producer, entrepreneur Eric Esrailian call on political leaders in the United States, and the people of the world who care about justice and decency, to boycott and sanction the murderous regime of Azerbaijan.

“As Armenian Americans, we want to be hopeful about the new year, but the ongoing crisis for the citizens of Artsakh and Armenia makes it difficult to do so. They are enduring a brutal campaign that is currently threatening the lives of over 120,000 men, women and children, and they desperately need the attention of the world to act now and save lives. The barbaric Azerbaijani blockade of the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia has cut off the delivery of food and lifesaving supplies. This campaign of ethnic cleansing, and the brazen attempts at cultural erasure, are barbaric,” Cher and Esrailian write in an op-ed published by Newsweek.

They note that the war in Ukraine and much of the world’s subsequent efforts to limit the purchase of Russian oil and gas has emboldened Azerbaijan further. Nevertheless, they note, Russia has significant financial interests in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas success.

They remind that Azerbaijan has one of the worst records on human rights and freedom indices in modern times, but apart from cries from academic and human rights circles, this pattern of behavior is deliberately drowned out by millions of dollars spent on tourism commercials, lobbying, sporting event sponsorships, and other machinations.

“Artsakh and Armenia—rare democracies in the region—cannot be sacrificed for convenience or anyone’s political expediency,” the authors write.

“Although clearly meeting the criteria for war crimes by international law, Armenian religious heritage sites have also been wantonly destroyed, and we know our faith is under attack. Did you know Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity in 301 AD. Given the recent pattern of aggression, it has been important for us to also highlight and preserve two of the most historic sites in all of Christendom—the Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral and the Khor Virap church and monastery complex,” they note.

The Armenian American celebrities ask everyone to take notice of autocratic regimes attacking Armenians with impunity.

“Think twice before turning a blind eye to the facts in order to favor some financially palatable dictators while trying to bypass others. We will keep sharing our stories, helping our brothers and sisters in our homeland, and providing support to protect our sacred structures. In turn, we ask our political leaders in the United States, and the people of the world who care about justice and decency, to boycott and sanction these murderous regimes, to cut off the incessant flow of money to them, and to apply more consistent standards when it comes to championing human rights,” they conclude.

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