Caroline Cox, a member of the British House of Lords and a staunch human rights advocate, visited Artsakh on Friday to get a first hand account of the destruction and havoc caused by Azerbaijan during the 45-day war. She is the first foreign official to visit Artsakh since the signing of an agreement on Monday that ended the war, but saw the surrender of territory to Azerbaijan, including Shushi.
Baroness Cox, who has been an outspoken advocate for Artsakh since 1990 and who witnessed the carnage caused by Azerbaijan during the Maragha Massacres, had also established a namesake rehabilitation center in Stepanakert for injured soldiers and people with disabilities.
Cox said that for many years she has been advocating for the rights of the people of Artsakh in international arenas, and during the war she had called on international organizations to ensure the protection of the rights of the people of Artsakh with practical steps.
She reiterated her support for the just struggle of the people of Artsakh—for their rights and freedoms—adding that “the international community is obliged to pay duly attention to the existing needs and problems.”
Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender Artak Beglaryan hosted Baroness Cox, who was accompanied by Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan.
Beglaryan briefed Cox on the war crimes committed by Azerbaijani forces during the war from September 27 to November 9 and presented the results of the fact finding missions conducted during the Azerbaijani aggression.
Beglaryan said that during the course of the war his office published two interim reports on Azeri atrocities, three reports on the Azeri’s inhumane treatment of Armenian POWs and bodies of killed servicemen, one report on the Azeri shelling of the Shushi Cathedral, one report on the violation of children’s rights and one joint report with Tatoyan on the Azeri’s use of incendiary munitions containing chemical elements.
The recorded facts were more than sufficient for international human rights organizations and generally the international community to take action to properly condemn and prevent the Azeri crimes, said Beglaryan.
Answering the questions of the delegation, Beglaryan touched upon the humanitarian disaster in Artsakh and outlined the imperative for international assistance by human rights organization, which he said are important for overcoming the crisis.
After the meeting the delegation visited several civilian buildings that were destroyed during the Azerbaijani bombardments of residential areas.
On Saturday, Cox met with Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan, who thanked the Baroness for the support she has shown to the people of Artsakh for decades and during these current challenging times.
While in Yerevan, Cox visited the Dzidzerbagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial and paid tribute to the victims of that tragedy. According to the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute, the Baroness also toured the Memory Alley and watered the fir she planted there.
She also held a meeting with President Armen Sarkissian, who briefed her on the Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenians in Artsakh and Armenia.