“Azerbaijan allowing exit from NK, prohibiting entry”: blockade continues
New procedure for leaving NK for Armenia
“From now on it will be possible to leave Artsakh for Armenia in case of emergency,” State Minister of the unrecognized NKR Gurgen Nersisyan said. Entry and exit will be organized by the Russian peacekeeping contingent. Anyone needing to leave will first have to contact the RMK Interaction Center and obtain permission.
The new procedure for leaving the Nagorno-Karabakh region was approved after Azerbaijan banned a group of Armenians from entering. Peacekeepers spent five hours unsuccessfully negotiating with the Azerbaijanis blocking the road. Those barred from entry said that “the Azerbaijanis intimidated people in cars by breaking into one of them and openly threatening people.” It is reported that four women had problems with their health and had to be transported to hospital.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the unrecognized republic issued a statement saying that “Azerbaijan’s criminal actions are becoming increasingly threatening in nature and scale.”
Armenian media reported that on April 4, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, 27 civilians tried to return from the city of Goris to the territory of NK. Azerbaijanis declaring themselves environmental activists who have blocked the Lachin corridor since December 12, 2022, stopped a car near the city of Shushi [Azerbaijanis call it Shusha] and denied them entry. Only four women, who apparently were ill, were allowed through and brougth to a hospital.
New procedure for moving “in order to protect against possible provocations”
The state minister of the unrecognized republic stated that the rumors about the evacuation of local residents to Armenia by Russian peacekeepers is “another manifestation of Azerbaijan’s information attacks” and do not correspond to reality. Gurgen Nersisyan recalled that from the beginning of the blockade of the Lachin corridor, people have been deprived of the opportunity to travel to Armenia, and now they will be able to travel only “in case of emergency.” The transportation process will be organized through Russian peacekeepers “in order to protect citizens from possible Azerbaijani provocations” on the blocked section of the road.
He said that the representation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in NK will continue organizing the transportation of people with health problems who need specialized medical care.
“Azerbaijan acts in conditions of absolute impunity”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the unrecognized NKR described the actions of Azerbaijanis in the Lachin corridor in April as “psychological terror and intimidation of women, children and the elderly.” The statement says that the citizens who remained in Armenia due to the blockade of the only road were not allowed to reunite with their families:
“This egregious incident clearly demonstrates that the Azerbaijani authorities have embarked on the next level of practical implementation of their criminal plan to carry out ethnic cleansing of Artsakh and expel its people from their historical homeland.
These intentions were publicly announced by the President of Azerbaijan on January 10, 2023 in an interview with the Azerbaijani media. Subsequently, the Azerbaijani political leadership repeatedly repeated the threat that the inhabitants of Artsakh should either submit to the Armenophobic authorities of Azerbaijan or leave their homeland.”
The statement emphasizes that “Azerbaijan operates with absolute impunity”:
“The inaction of the international community in the face of such serious violations of human rights is tantamount to tacit approval, if not complicity in the inhumane actions of official Baku. Urgent and decisive action by the UN Security Council, which has the appropriate mandate and tools, is an absolute necessity for the immediate end of the illegal blockade and the suppression of the ongoing crimes of Azerbaijan before the eyes of the international community.”
State Minister’s adviser and former Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan gave details of the incident, which he learned from those denied entry. He wrote on social networks that the Azerbaijanis “intimidated people in cars by breaking into one of them and openly threatening them,” and also put forward a precondition of “accepting Azerbaijani citizenship.”
Four women allegedly lost consciousness during this incident. According to the information received by Beglaryan, the peacekeepers called an ambulance and transported them to a hospital:
“The Azerbaijani side did not allow the peacekeepers to call and use the Artsakh ambulance and tried to transport patients to the hospital of Shushi, a city now under the control of Azerbaijan. However, people began to protest and demanded that the patients be transferred to Stepanakert [Azerbaijanis call this city Khankendi].
In the context of the state policy of racial/ethnic discrimination and hatred in Azerbaijan, as well as its regular manifestations, the international community must understand the level of existential threats to the people of Artsakh under any form of control by Azerbaijan.”
According to information provided by MK Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan, Azerbaijan “violated an earlier agreement with the Russian peacekeeping forces on the return of the inhabitants of Artsakh, and the negotiations came to nothing.” Of the 27 people who were heading home, 23 returned to Goris.
He recalled that from the beginning of the blockade of the Lachin corridor, Baku has claimed that the road is open:
“This incident proves the essence of the false and fabricated statements of the Azerbaijani leadership, the obvious and undisguised lies and the misleading of the international community. Moreover, by allowing people to leave Artsakh in various ways, but forbidding entry, the Azerbaijani authorities are openly pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing.”
According to the Ombudsman, the reason for Azerbaijan’s failure to comply with calls of the international community and the decision of the International Court of Justice is
- “the emerging situation of permissiveness,
- disrespect, disregard for the peacekeeping mission of Russia,
- the absence of targeted and practical punitive actions on the part of all interested international actors.”
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New procedure for leaving NK for Armenia