ANCA-WR to bestow 2016 Advocate for Justice Award to Congressman Brad Sherman

Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) announced that it will bestow its 2016 Advocate for Justice Award to Congressman Brad Sherman for consistently being one of the strongest voices in our nation’s capital on many issues important to the Armenian community, including justice for the Armenian Genocide, and the security and prosperity of the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh Republic.  Congressman Sherman will personally accept the award at the organization’s Annual Gala to be held on October 16, 2016 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

“Congressman Brad Sherman has been one of our staunchest and most consistent advocates in the United States Congress for a period of twenty years, and we are so gratified to work with him on so many issues important to the advancement of the Armenian Cause. With his vast knowledge of geopolitics in the Near East and Caucasus region, his legal expertise on a wide array of issues facing us, and his commitment to justice, we are fortunate to have Congressman Sherman represent us with such passion and unwavering persistence.  The ANCA-WR Board of Directors is proud to honor Congressman Brad Sherman with its 2016 Advocate for Justice award, and we look forward to continuing our close and productive relationship with him,”  stated ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Armenian National Committee of America as the 2016 Advocate for Justice.  In collaboration with the ANCA, I have consistently focused on recognizing the Armenian Genocide and increasing aid to Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakh.  I look forward to continuing my work on these issues in support of a stronger U.S-Armenia relationship. The ANCA has done a tremendous job representing the interests of the Armenian community.  I want to extend my best wishes for a most memorable event and continued success in all your future endeavors,” noted Congressman Sherman.

First elected in 1996, Rep. Brad Sherman has, over the past two decades, consistently and effectively championed the views, values and policy priorities of Armenian Americans throughout California and across the United States.  His perfect A+ grades reflect his unfailing support for our homeland and heritage, as does the prestigious Mkhitar Gosh Award he received from the Republic of Armenia.

Congressman Sherman’s leadership on issues of special concern to Americans of Armenian heritage encompasses the full array of our community’s foreign policy priorities – from a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, security for the independent Nagorno Karabakh Republic, increasingly strong U.S.-Armenia bilateral relations, and humanitarian support for at-risk Armenians across the Middle East.

Since taking office he has co-sponsored every Armenian Genocide Resolution, leveraging his seniority on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to secure the adoption of this human rights measure by the panel on a number of occasions, including high-profile legislative battles in 2007 and 2010.  Additionally, Congressman Sherman has openly and aggressively pressed Presidents of both parties – from Clinton and Bush to Obama – to end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s obstruction of justice for this crime.  He has, as well, worked to block U.S. arms sales and transfers to Turkey that potentially threaten the security of Armenia, Greece, or Cyprus.

Long an ardent defender of Artsakh’s freedom and security, Congressman Sherman – along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce – earlier this year spearheaded the Royce-Sherman letter. This bipartisan Congressional letter, signed by more than 50 legislators, called on President Obama to press Azerbaijan to stop blocking the implementation of proposals to strengthen the Nagorno Karabakh ceasefire. Among these proposals (backed by the U.S. and the OSCE, endorsed by both Armenia and Artsakh, but rejected by Azerbaijan) is the deployment of gunfire locators, the addition of observers, and the withdrawal of snipers and heavy arms from the line of contact.  Parallel to his work supporting the ceasefire, he has – in the wake of Baku’s April 2016 offensive – formally called upon the Obama Administration to launch a “Leahy Law” investigation to determine if Azerbaijani forces that committed human rights abuses against Artsakh citizens and soldiers had received any military assistance from the U.S. government.

As early as 2012, Congressman Sherman began advocating for the right of Nagorno Karabakh to begin operating the Stepanakert airport, publicly condemning Baku’s threats to shoot down civilian planes using this facility. In that same year, he was among the most vocal U.S. legislators to protest Azerbaijan’s release and pardon of unrepentant anti-Armenian axe-killer Ramil Safarov.  In 2011, he was the key to securing written assurances from the Export-Import Bank that its financing of satellite purchase by Baku would not add any military capability to the Azerbaijani armed forces.  He has, consistently, marked anniversaries of the Baku/Sumgait pogroms, always protested publicly against Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian aggression, and consistently defended the Section 907 restrictions on direct U.S. aid to the Azerbaijani government.

On foreign aid, Representative Sherman – long a strong champion of robust levels of economic development assistance to Armenia, frequently questioning USAID and State Department officials when they appeared before Congress.  On issues of international development, he is, though, perhaps best known for his pioneering “Sherman Amendment” during consideration of the Fiscal Year 1998 foreign aid bill.  His leadership, within the Foreign Affairs Committee and with his House colleagues, developed the bipartisan consensus needed to launch the U.S. aid program to Nagorno Karabakh – an unprecedented effort that has, over the past two decades, provided tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian assistance to Nagorno Karabakh.  Congressman Sherman has been a legislative leader in seeking targeted U.S. aid to the Armenian-populated Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, and also supports U.S. and international assistance to help Armenia settle refugees from the Middle East.

As a legislative leader of Armenia’s aid to trade transition, Representative Sherman was a driving force behind 2015’s signing of a U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.  He is currently the leading Congressional voice in support of a U.S.-Armenia Tax Treaty, having twice questioned Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew during hearings about the urgent necessity of removing the threat of double taxation as an obstacle to the growth of bilateral commercial relations.

Congressman Brad Sherman, from Sherman Oaks, was born and raised in southern California and represents California’s San Fernando Valley. He has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, serving his tenth term in Congress. Congressman Sherman is a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Previously, the organization announced that it will honor California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson with the Man of the Year Award, Varoujan Koundakjian posthumously with the Legacy Award, California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian with the Legislator of the Year Award, Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr and the Kerr family with the Humanitarian Award, and German Parliament Member Cem Ozdemir and the German Bundestag with the Freedom Award.  As a part of the program that evening, a special recognition and presentation will be made to and by filmmakers of the newly-completed Armenian Genocide-era film, “The Promise, which will include a short clip from the film with behind-the-scenes footage compiled especially for this event.

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