The United Nations waited until almost all of Artsakh was depopulated to send a mission to Artsakh. The UN announced Friday that it had accepted an invitation from Azerbaijan to inspect Nagorno-Karabakh, ignoring widespread warnings of Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Armenians.
The mission arrived in Stepanakert on Sunday “to assess the humanitarian needs in the region.”
After concluding its mission, Stephane Dujarric, a representative of the UN Secretary-General, told the reporter that the number of Armenians left in Artsakh ranges from 50 to 1,000.
He added that during the one-day visit to the region, during which the UN representatives visited Stepanakert, they did not find any signs of destruction of civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, cultural and religious infrastructures, although all shops were closed.
“Local residents or other persons did not present to the delegation evidence of violence against the civilian population as a result of the last ceasefire,” Dujarric added.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan called the UN mission “too late,” telling representatives of international organizations on Monday that continued warnings by Yerevan that Azerbaijan was planning to subject Artsakh Armenians to premeditated ethnic cleansing “with premeditated actions “did not lead to effective steps by the international community to prevent Baku’s policy.”
Hunan Tadevosyan, a spokesperson for Artsakh’s Emergency Services told News.am that arrival of the UN mission was too little too late, much in the same way as visits from all other humanitarian organizations.
Since the end of the 2020 war, Azerbaijan has not allowed the UN or other international organizations to enter Artsakh.
“I was a volunteer working with all the people who were taking shelter in the basements, even those with mental illnesses who did not realize what was happening. I personally put them on a bus, we took them out of Stepanakert,” Tadevosyan said.
“There was information on social networks that a mother with her seven children was left behind, as were a couple. We went around the entire city again, but we didn’t find anyone. There is no population left in Stepanakert. If there are people left, you can count them on your fingers,” he added.
Azerbaijani media reported that the UN mission included representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, as well as a technical team from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and the UN Department of Safety and Security.
The team traveled from Aghdam to Stepanakert, where it met with the local population and interlocutors and saw first-hand the situation regarding health and education facilities.
“The mission was struck by the sudden manner in which the local population left their homes and the suffering the experience must have caused. The mission did not come across any reports – neither from the local population interviewed nor from the interlocutors – of incidences of violence against civilians following the latest ceasefire,” an official statement from the mission noted.