in Russian – http://crossroadorg.info/appeal-9-1-2024/
in French – http://crossroadorg.info/en/appeal-9-1-2024-fr/
On January 16, 2024, a group of public figures and experts made another open critical appeal to the UN leadership. It contains, in particular, a request and appeal to the UN leaders to convene an Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly to make a decision on restoring violated rights and ensuring guarantees for the safe return of the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh to the territory of their permanent residence. The Azerbaijani authorities have once again failed to comply with the Decision of the International Court of Justice of November 17, 2023 https://aga-tribunal.info/en/icj-17-11-2023-en/
Let us recall that various structures, public organizations and figures addressed the UN. Links to some appeals in 2023 – http://crossroadorg.info/appeals-un-2023/ Information on the current difficult situation in the UN Office on genocide prevention — http://crossroadorg.info/r2p-16-1-2024/
This appeal is open for signature from organizations, communities and individuals.
To the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr António Guterres
Mr Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide
We, the undersigned, appeal in your person to the leadership of the UN with a call to take urgent effective measures to restore the rights and return to their homeland of the indigenous Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, expelled as a result of the genocide committed by the Azerbaijani regime through ethnic cleansing of Armenians living for thousands of years in their native land earth.
In full view of the whole world, Azerbaijan, since 2020, has deliberately created unbearable living conditions that were designed to lead to the complete or partial physical destruction of the Armenian people of Artsakh, has carried out ethnic cleansing, forcing them to a painful outcome. As a result, Azerbaijan in two stages – after its aggressions in 2020 and in 2023 – expelled all survivors of the 150 thousand Armenian population from Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, at the second stage, against 80% of the population, it carried out a cruel, inhumane blockade and siege for 10 months, ignoring the decision of the International Court of Justice of February 22, 2023. Once again violating the fundamental UN principle of the non-use of force, Azerbaijan seized territory by military means, which resulted in several thousand civilian casualties, thousands of missing persons, and hundreds of prisoners. At the same time, Azerbaijan cynically declared non-recognition of civil, political, cultural and other rights of the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh.
The people of Artsakh defended their right to self-determination in a difficult struggle against Azerbaijani aggression and ethnic cleansing. Azerbaijan left the USSR with gross violations of the current legislation, rejecting legal succession with the Azerbaijan SSR, de facto and de jure without the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. This gave the people of Artsakh the right, in accordance with the laws of the USSR and the provisions of international law, to independently decide their future destiny, creating an independent state entity, securing it in the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh). This fact is noted in the European Parliament Resolution of March 11, 1999 “On maintaining the peace process in the Caucasus,” which states “the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence following similar declarations by former Soviet Socialist Republics after the collapse of the USSR in September 1991″. http://clck.ru/37prBB http://crossroadorg.info/ep-1999/
But now, after Azerbaijan’s forceful seizure of Artsakh’s territory in 2023 and the actual expulsion of more than 100,000 indigenous Artsakh people from their thousand-year-old homeland, from their homes, the genocide committed by Azerbaijan has turned into a terrible, cruel reality.
For the Armenians of Artsakh, life in their ancestral homeland is an existential question, a question of the existence as such of a national-cultural community. The Azerbaijan authorities’ false statements about the importance of their territorial integrity are an attempt to conceal the essence of their actions – the liquidation of the autochthonous Armenian population from the territory of Artsakh. The expulsion of Armenians from their homeland is one of the key factors in Azerbaijan’s consistent policy of not only ethnic cleansing, but also the destruction of the historical and cultural heritage of the region and the related policy of falsifying historical facts. In this sense, Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh repeats the sad fate of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, with the Armenian population being forcibly expelled from there and numerous architectural and other monuments of ancient Armenian culture on its territory being completely destroyed (these facts have been reflected in the statements of the most authoritative international organisations UNESCO, ICOMOS, AAAS).
We call on the world community in your person to responsibly address the blatant fact of genocide in such a significant, historically and culturally unique region, one of the cradles of civilisation, which gave the world great names and great achievements of Armenian culture and science. (Suffice it to mention that one of the first schools of Armenian writing emerged in Artsakh in the 5th century A.D. in the Christian monastery of Amaras, founded by the creator of the Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashtots).
The destruction of the national and cultural autonomy of Artsakh would not merely be a crime of the Azerbaijani authorities, but also the greatest civilisational disgrace for the whole world, for all mankind, for the ideals of humanism and norms of international law, the basic notions of humanity, justice, and universal cultural heritage. World leaders cannot but realise that by their connivance the crime committed by the regime of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, they are complicit in the genocide of the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh, an entire ethnic group with its centuries-old culture and history.
Three months have passed since the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, “reiterated her concern” https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/Statement_Armenia_Azerbaijan_10%20October_2023.pdf During this time, there were numerous appeals from dozens of organizations to the UN urging for specific practical measures. http://crossroadorg.info/appeals-un-2023/ There was no reaction from the UN and the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG), although the OSAPG’s mandate considers cooperation with civil society and public organizations to be a priority https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/civil-society.shtml The deadline for Azerbaijan to execute the Decision of the International Court of Justice has also expired https://aga-tribunal.info/en/icj-17-11-2023-en/ Once again, Azerbaijan demonsrates total and cynical disregard of international law. What is needed is not statements and resolutions without real consequences, we do need specific practical measures.
In order to prevent the destruction of the national-cultural community of the Armenian population of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, we appeal to the UN and to its leaders with a request
- about a video conference for the exchange of views between a representative of the OSAPG and representatives of public organizations that have repeatedly sent letters to the UN,
- to convene an Extraordinary Special Session of the UN General Assembly to make a decision on the restoration of the violated rights and to provide guarantees for the safe return of the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh to the territory of their permanent residence.
The United Nations has repeatedly formulated the principles of respect for human rights, national minorities, and indigenous peoples with the aim of preventing genocide in any state. Azerbaijan, which is pursuing a consistent policy of exterminating the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh, is trying to present it as a matter of its territorial integrity. But this policy must find a clear legal assessment from the international community. According to the Declaration on Principles of International Law No. 2625 of 24.10.1970, the principle of territorial integrity is inapplicable to States that do not ensure equal rights for the peoples living therein and do not allow free self-determination of such peoples. This principle has been developed in the international law norm “The responsibility to protect” introduced by the UN in 2005, which postulates the idea that the sovereignty of a state entails the responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities and violations of human rights, and in case of failure of such protection the responsibility is transferred to the international community. In the situation of the humanitarian catastrophe that the people of Artsakh are currently experiencing, the existence of legal grounds for the application of “The responsibility to protect” has become more obvious and relevant than ever. And the political will of the leaders of the international community, represented by the UN, is required to apply this norm to save the civilians of the long-suffering Artsakh.
The United Nations has not only formulated the most important norms of international law to protect the peoples of the world from atrocities, but also has effective tools and mechanisms to prevent ethnic cleansing and other forms of genocide in inter-ethnic conflicts, which in practice have shown their effectiveness. We ask the United Nations to use all available means to protect the population of Artsakh from the blatant abuses by the Azerbaijani authorities: to introduce a UN mandate in the territory of Artsakh, to grant Artsakh the status of “territory temporarily and directly administered by the United Nations” in order to return the exiled Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh to their homes, to protect their lives, rights and freedoms, including the hard-fought right of this people to live on their land, to preserve and develop their distinctive culture.
January 16, 2024
Karine Kagramanova, teacher, musicologist (Moscow)
Larisa Alaverdyan, the first Human Rights Defender of Armenia, executive director of the NGO “Against the Violation of Law” (Yerevan)
Alexandr Manasyan, Doctor of Philosophy, head of the NGO “Political Research Academy” (Yerevan)
Mihran Shahzadeyan, head of “Armenian Association of Political Scientists” NGO (Yerevan)
Aram Sargsyan, head of “National Center for Dialogue of Civilizations” NGO
Vahan Babakhanyan, “Crossroad” NGO (Saint Petersburg)
Alexander Yerkanyan, historian, publicist and public figure (Moscow)
Jasmina Gevondyan, head of the Armenian-Russian Society of friendship and cooperation (Yerevan)
Vanya Barseghyan, head of “Patriotic Call of Artsakh” NGO (Yerevan)
Angela Morozova, public activist (Moscow)
(this appeal is open for signature from organizations, communities and individuals)