Dear friends and colleagues,
We hope this message finds you all well and staying safe in these truly extraordinary times.
We are writing, as members of the leadership of the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute and the UCLA Promise Institute for Human Rights, to express our great concern and condemnation of the recent escalation of tensions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, which began in mid-July. We condemn in no uncertain terms the violence between the two countries, especially during a global pandemic. We join Mayor Eric Garcetti in expressing our particular outrage at Azerbaijan's provocative and dangerous threats to strike Armenia's civilian nuclear power plant. We are also alarmed at rising instances of hate speech/hate crimes, with the anti-Armenian graffiti at an Armenian school in San Francisco reflecting the dangerous possibility of violence abroad spilling over to our local communities. Recent altercations in Brentwood only underscore this concern. Finally, we decry all calls for cross-border violence and are deeply dismayed at reports of protests in Baku calling for full-scale war.
At a time when tensions are dangerously heightened, we invite civil society groups and peacemakers on both sides to engage in dialog and mutual understanding.
We further join with the U.S. State Department, the U.N. Secretary General, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, and others in calling for a ceasefire as well as a de-escalation in inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech, and a return of international monitors to the region. We firmly believe that diplomacy is the only path to peace and safety in the region.
For more information on this rapidly changing situation, please visit the PAI website on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Border Conflict.
Director, The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA
Distinguished Professor, UCLA Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Director, Armenian Studies Center within The PAI at UCLA
Professor and Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, UCLA
Faculty Director, UCLA Promise Institute for Human Rights
Professor, UCLA School of Law
Executive Director, UCLA Promise Institute for Human Rights