The Artsakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan on Thursday released an updated version of a report detailing Azerbaijan’s violations of individual and collective human rights during the course of the ongoing Artsakh blockade. The report concluded that any status for Artsakh within Azerbaijan would be “tantamount to ethnic cleansing.”
The report comprehensively details data on the violations of seven individual rights, five rights of vulnerable groups and four collective rights, which represent the deepening humanitarian crisis and the genocidal policy of Azerbaijan toward the people of Artsakh.
Below are some basic data reflected in the report on human rights violations as a result of the 150-day blockade:
- The movement of people passing through the Stepanakert-Goris highway (along the Lachin corridor) has decreased by about 200 times (1,839 entries and departures instead of 367,500);
- Almost 54 times less car traffic was recorded on the road compared to what should have been in case of no blockade (2,558 car entries and departures, performed only by the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers, instead of 138,000);
- Approximately 13 times less vital cargo was imported compared to what should have been in case of no blockade (4,623 tons instead of 60,000 tons);
- A total of about 3,900 people, including 570 children, were unable to return to their homes due to the blockade;
- Due to the suspension of the pre-planned operations, about 1200 citizens lost the opportunity to solve their health problems via operations;
- Azerbaijan has completely or partially interrupted the gas supply from Armenia to Artsakh for a total of 85 days;
- The electricity supply from Armenia to Artsakh has been completely cut for 121 days now, which led to the introduction of rolling blackouts followed by numerous accidents;
- According to preliminary estimates, about 10,900 people have actually lost their jobs and sources of income (including cases of job retention), which is more than 50% of the total number of private sector employees;
- The country’s economy suffered loss in the amount of about USD 285 million;
- A number of violations of rights are more pronounced in case of vulnerable groups, in particular 30,000 children, 9,000 people with disabilities, 20,000 older people, 60,000 women (women and girls) and 15,000 displaced persons.
In addition to the ongoing and multiple violations of the provisions of the Tripartite Statement of November 9, 2020, for 80 consecutive days now, the mandatory execution of the decision of the International Court of Justice of the United Nations on ensuring unhindered entry and departure of people, cars and cargo along the Lachin corridor has not been implemented by Azerbaijan, which once again tramples on the highest international values and principles.
Furthermore, after that the Azerbaijani side resorted to new aggressive actions which resulted in human losses and new sufferings among Artsakh people. Since April 23, the Azerbaijani side has installed an illegal checkpoint near the Hakari bridge. Consequently, the international community has not only the right, but also an indisputable obligation to implement the decision of the Supreme International Court of Justice by practical means as soon as possible and to prevent future Azerbaijani crimes, including the new planned and brutal crime against humanity.
All the violations of Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh are carried out within the framework of its state policy of racial discrimination (Armenophobia) and are deeply directed against their right to self-determination and the fact of its realization, aimed at finally resolving the conflict to their advantage via ethnic cleansing based on the “no people, no rights” logic.
The systematic and consistent policy of ethnic hatred pursued by Azerbaijan, which manifested itself both during the aggression against the people of Artsakh in 2020 and after the establishment of the ceasefire regime, indisputably proves that any status of Artsakh within Azerbaijan is tantamount to ethnic cleansing of Artsakh and the genocide of the Armenians of Artsakh. Therefore, in the context of the Artsakh conflict, the right to self-determination is equal to the right of people to live in their homeland.
The fundamental right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, as well as the Azerbaijani encroachments and threats against their physical existence on the basis of racial discrimination are more than sufficient grounds for the protection of the people of Artsakh by the international community, as well as the international recognition of the Republic of Artsakh based on the principle of “remedial recognition.”