On September 19, 2023 – following nine months of blockade - Azerbaijan launched a violent campaign against the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), bombing the civilian population and subjecting them to an ongoing state-sponsored campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide. The international community, including Canada, the US, the EU, and other allies, are called upon to take decisive action to prevent further atrocities. The situation in Artsakh is dire, with thousands displaced, limited access to necessities, and reports of atrocities. The UN Security Council meeting on September 21 failed to reach a consensus, leaving the crisis unresolved. Six critical priorities for the international community include defining Artsakh's status, securing a UN mandate, ensuring the safety of the population, holding Azerbaijan accountable for war crimes, delivering humanitarian aid, and facilitating the safe return of displaced Armenians.
What is the current situation in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)?Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has been the target of genocide and an ethnic cleansing campaign by Azerbaijan, involving military aggression, starvation and deprivation of basic necessities. After nine months of blocking the Lachin Corridor - the only route connecting Artsakh to the rest of the world - on September 19, Azerbaijan launched a genocidal campaign of terror and bombardment targeting civilians, resulting in immense suffering and casualties.Who bears primary responsibility for addressing the crisis in Artsakh?Azerbaijan is the sole aggressor in this conflict and must be held accountable for its genocidal actions. Russia, which maintains a peacekeeping force in Artsakh, also holds a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the population. The EU, USA, France, Canada and other like-minded allies also have a role to play in resolving the conflict, by promoting the Armenian people’s right to self-determination and right to live in peace and security.How is Azerbaijan justifying its actions in Artsakh?Azerbaijan is exploiting the principle of territorial integrity as a pretext for ethnic cleansing and forcibly removing the indigenous Armenian population from their ancestral homeland. This is a violation of international law as it pertains to this conflict. The conflict in Artsakh is mediated by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Minsk Group, which has been mediating between the sides based on the basic principles of the Helsinki Final Act, which, in addition to the principle of territorial integrity, also includes the principles of self-determination and the none use-of-force, both of which Azerbaijan has violated.Is there evidence of civilian casualties and atrocities in Artsakh?Yes, there are reports of civilian casualties, atrocities, and massacres. Azerbaijani social media channels have made threats against civilians and posted reports of massacres.Has the United Nations Security Council taken any action to address the crisis in Artsakh?As of September 21, 2023, the United Nations Security Council has not reached a consensus or taken any action to address the ongoing crisis in Artsakh.What are the six priorities proposed for the international community to address the crisis in Artsakh?The six priorities are:- Define sustainable Artsakh status & self-determination.
- Secure a UN mandate for Artsakh's administration.
- Protect the security & safety of Artsakh's population.
- Hold Azerbaijan accountable for genocide & war crimes.
- Deliver humanitarian, development & reconstruction aid.
- Secure the safe return of displaced Artsakh Armenians.How have Azerbaijani actions affected the local population in Artsakh?The indigenous population has been uprooted from their ancestral land, facing the threat of genocide, ethnic cleansing, abandonment, and a lack of basic necessities. They are on the verge of losing everything they have struggled for.Are there challenges in handling the deceased and missing persons in Artsakh?Yes, due to Azerbaijani military actions, communities are cut off from each other, making it difficult to handle deceased victims, conduct forensic examinations, and locate missing relatives.What has Azerbaijan done that further exacerbates the suffering in Artsakh?Azerbaijan has intentionally disrupted communication lines, and cut off electricity, natural gas, and the delivery of basic necessities, exacerbating the population's suffering.What is the potential consequence of not addressing the crisis in Artsakh?If the international community does not take action to hold the aggressors accountable, history may not look kindly upon those who stood by while the Armenian population in Artsakh faced displacement, suffering, and genocide. Inaction will result in yet another genocide of the Armenian people.