The living conditions and security of the civilian population of bordering communities in Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik provinces have drastically deteriorated
Monday, 30 January, 2023, 12:06
In January 2023, ArmenianCaritas, supported by Caritas-Internationalis and Caritas Europa in collaboration with the Center for Law and Justice "Tatoyan” Foundation, organized a Teleconference alerting members on the blockade of the Berdzor (Lachin) lifeline corridor for Artsakh (NagornoKarabakh) and the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in the border communities of Armenia with Azerbaijan. The Teleconference counted with participation of more than 45 representatives from Caritas Confederation member organisations from different countries. The President of Armenian Caritas, Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics His Beatitude Raphaël François Minassian welcomed the participants of the teleconference and emphasized the importance of any steps taken to prevent the humanitarian crisis and to protect fundamental human rights. Referring to the humanitarian crisis created in Nagorno-Karabakh due to the blocking of the Lachin Corridor, His Beatitude emphasized that Azerbaijan's actions are a gross violation of international humanitarian law. Mr. Gegham Stepanian, Ombudsman of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) presented the results of fact-finding missions carried out from 12th of December 2022 on a daily basis and the consequences resulting from the blockade by Azerbaijan of the only RoadOfLife connecting Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) to Armenia and with the rest of the world since 12 December 2022. Due to this blockade fundamental #humanrights of 120.000 indigenous ethnic Armenians, 30.000 of whom are children, 20.000 - elderly, 9000 - people with disabilities have been violated. As a result, the population is facing a dire #humanitariancrisis due to a lack of food, medication, and other essential goods and energy provision. Moreover, the transfer of patients in critical condition for urgent treatment and hospitalization in the specialized medical centers of Armenia has become almost impossible. The right to education of the children in Nagorno-Karabakh has been disrupted. 41 kindergartens and 56 pre-schools have been completely or partially closed since January 9 due to the worsening food shortage under the blockade. As a result, 6,828 children are no longer able to attend kindergarten, preschool, or day school and are being deprived of the opportunity to receive proper care, nutrition, and education. Since January 18, all 118 schools in Artsakh have been closed due to heating and electricity supply problems, depriving almost 20,000 children of their right to education. Also, as a result of the blockade, at least 1.100 people, among whom 270 children who had travelled to Armenia before 12 December to participate in cultural and sports events, have been separated from their families and were unable to return back home for more than one month. Mr. Arman Tatoyan, Director of the Center for Law and Justice “Tatoyan” Foundation presented the root causes, the results of the fact-finding missions and the current situation in the bordering communities of Syunik, Vayots dzor, Gegharkunik provinces of the Republic of Armenia after the Azerbaijani aggression on 13-14 September 2022. Azerbaijani Armed Forces have occupied thousands of hectares of specially protected lands, agricultural, community lands, forests as well as water resources. Infrastructures including military roads are being built by the Azerbaijani armed forces in the occupied territories of the sovereign territories of the Republic of Armenia. Moreover, civilian communications and transport infrastructures, as well as educational institutions in several dozens of communities are directly targeted by the unlawful armed locations of Azerbaijani Military Forces. In some communities, the village schools are not functioning, civilians have suffered material losses (losses of animals due to theft, mine explosions); thus, they are unable to secure opportunities to maintain a viable family income. The fundamental rights of children and vulnerable people have been violated. The living conditions and security of the civilian population of bordering communities in Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik provinces have drastically deteriorated. The Teleconference was aiming at bringing the attention of the Caritas Confederation on the current human rights and humanitarian situation of the civilian population in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia and the warning signs of ethniccleansing of Armenians with a view to promoting solidarity and possible advocacy actions at global and national levels, notably in relation to guarantee unimpeded humanitarian access to urgently alleviate the suffering of the communities and promote full enjoyment of human rights.