Situation with Armenians in Karabakh has become even more aggravated
Prohibition of transport along the Lachin corridor
“Even the seriously ill are not allowed to be transported. Everything is being done to create unbearable living conditions for the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. This is exactly the policy of ethnic cleansing that we have been warning about for years,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on the 193rd day of the blockade of NK.
Since June 15 the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has become even more aggravated. Azerbaijan banned not only the movement of people, but also the import of humanitarian goods into NK. In Armenia they believe that Baku is moving to “actions that constitute a war crime.”
US congressmen discussed the issue and called on President Biden to “stop military assistance to Azerbaijan and support Artsakh.”
The Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world, has been closed since December 12 last year. On April 23, 2022, Azerbaijan installed a checkpoint on the Khakari Bridge.
After an attempt to install an Azerbaijani flag on the same bridge and return fire from the Armenian side, Baku banned all transportation, including humanitarian ones, and blocked the corridor with armored vehicles. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers, who had been delivering essential goods to NK over the previous six months, lost their right to move.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
- All types of humanitarian transportation are prohibited,
- The International Committee of the Red Cross is not allowed to transport patients in need of specialized care to Yerevan (190 patients are waiting to leave), nor to deliver medicines and medical equipment to NK,
- Since June 19, all examinations and surgical interventions, except for emergency ones, have been canceled in local medical clinics.
According to official figures, 120,000 people live in Artsakh, including 30,000 children, 20,000 elderly and 9,000 people with disabilities.
“Artsakh is rapidly sliding into the abyss of a humanitarian catastrophe”
The former Ombudsman of the NK Artak Beglaryan wrote about this on his Facebook page. In his opinion, all countries should take their share of responsibility and prevent the impending tragedy:
“We expect urgent and practical steps from Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, the European Union, the UN and other actors, and from Armenians around the world, strong pressure on everyone.”
Beglaryan stressed that 120,000 people are in complete isolation, without any supply and the possibility of movement. He also posted photographs showing how Azerbaijani armored vehicles block the road.
“So Baku guarantees free movement, which they lie to the whole world about, saying that there is no blockade?” he wrote.
"Baku's provocations are aimed at the complete isolation of the NK Armenians." Assessment from Yerevan
How Yerevan evaluates the installation of the Azerbaijani flag on the Hakari bridge and the ban on movement along the Lachin corridor. Comments of the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, MPs and Ombudsman of Armenia
“A New Level of Ethnic Cleansing Politics”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the unrecognized republic stated that Baku’s goal is to deliberately deprive people of the minimum means of subsistence, qualifying Azerbaijan’s actions as war crimes:
“By completely blocking the Lachin corridor, Azerbaijan has actually taken its targeted policy of ethnic cleansing in Artsakh to a new level. The deliberate starvation of 120,000 people, including children, women and the elderly, inflicting unbearable daily suffering on them, as well as imposing their own will through force or threat of force, requires the international community to take urgent and effective enforcement measures aimed at preventing massive violations of rights people of Artsakh.”
NK expects that
- the international community will take the necessary collective and individual measures in order to “suppress the ongoing international crimes committed by Azerbaijan, as well as prevent a catastrophe that threatens the people of Artsakh with genocide”;
- international structures and human rights organizations will adequately assess the situation and appeal to the Azerbaijani authorities to respect the right to humanitarian assistance and international protection of people.
“We emphasize that inaction and indifference actually encourage the genocidal actions of Azerbaijan,” the statement says.
“How should the situation be resolved?” This issue was raised by the Prime Minister of Armenia at a government meeting. According to Pashinyan, in order to solve the problem, we need:
- execution of the legally binding decision of the International Court of Justice of February 22 (the court ordered Azerbaijan to ensure unhindered movement along the Lachin corridor),
- launching an international mechanism for dialogue between NK and Baku, within which the problem of the rights and security of Armenians will be resolved.
He called the implementation of the decision of the International Court of Justice a matter of “the international agenda”, including the UN Security Council. It is this body that is empowered to enforce court decisions. Pashinyan believes that “failure to implement and ignore the decision has led to a humanitarian crisis,” when even the movement of Red Cross vehicles is prohibited:
“These are important facts, which in themselves refute Azerbaijan’s arguments that the forces and countries that talk about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin corridor are allegedly interfering in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan.”
“11,000 people lost their earnings”: the consequences of the 6-month blockade of NK
The Ombudsman of Nagorno-Karabakh published an extraordinary report on the consequences of the blockade and included personal stories of people in it. Details of the report, as well as assessment of the situation by the Armenian Foreign Ministry
“Stop military assistance to Azerbaijan and support Artsakh”
54 representatives of the US Congress led by Congresswoman Barbara Lee sent an open letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They appealed to the administration of the US President with a demand “to stop military assistance to Azerbaijan and support Artsakh, to oppose the blockade of NK and the anti-Armenian aggression of Azerbaijan.”
Hearings on the “Protection of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh” were held at the Human Rights Committee. Congressmen said that “the US cannot accept the threat of genocide or ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh.” It was said that “Azerbaijan is tightening the ring around Nagorno-Karabakh” as early as 2020.
“People are afraid that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is the longest since the collapse of the USSR, could provoke a repeat of history,” Congressman Jim McGovern said, referring to the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the last century.
Former US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback proposed the Nagorno-Karabakh Human Rights Act. He believes that it is necessary to adopt a document that would clearly define the minimum standards for protecting the security of the Armenian population of NK:
“Until Azerbaijan lifts the blockade, the president and administration must apply the sanctions provided for by the 907th amendment. And it has to happen right now.”
The US Congress passed Amendment 907 to the Freedom Support Act in 1992. It states that the United States can only provide humanitarian assistance to the government of Azerbaijan. The US should not provide any other assistance until Azerbaijan takes “practical measures to end all blockades and the use of force for offensive purposes against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.” However, the addition to amendment 907, adopted in 2002, allowed the president to suspend its operation and provide military assistance to Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan is better seen and heard in Brussels” – Armenian political scientist
Tigran Grigoryan summed up the results of the visit of a group of Armenian experts to Belgium, where meetings were held with representatives of various EU structures, members of the European Parliament and European experts
Prohibition of transportation along the Lachin corridor