Arzakh (Nagorno-Karabakh): Warnings of genocide go unheeded

The Associazione per i Popoli Minacciati (APM) ( Association for Threatened Peoples) reacted with dismay and anger to the news of the death of K. Hovhannisyan, 40, from Stepanakert in Arzakh. Arzakh Human Rights Ombudsman Gegham Stepanjan announced yesterday that Hovhannisyan had literally starved to death. He suffered from severe malnutrition and could no longer receive medical care. He thus became a victim of Azerbaijan’s eight-month-long blockade of the Lachin Corridor which was drastically tightened in mid-June 2023, cutting off the Armenian population of Arzakh from all supplies. Since the beginning of the blockade, human rights organisations, genocide researchers and currently also Luis Moreno Ocampo (first chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court 2003-2012) have warned of the consequences of the blockade in an expert opinion on international law. Ocampo confirms that the Armenian population of Arzakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) is at risk of genocide. The President of the Republic of Arzakh defines the situation as “genocide in a large concentration camp”. All of these warnings fell on deaf ears. We cannot stand by while more people die in Arzakh.

On several occasions, the Association for Threatened Peoples, together with other NGOs, has called on European politicians to initiate effective sanctions against Azerbaijan’s blockade, so that the International Court of Justice order of 22 February 2023 to lift this blockade is finally implemented. To date, however, these steps have not yet materialised.

The blockade of the Arzakh region, inhabited almost exclusively by people of Armenian ethnicity, has very serious existential consequences for all the approximately 120,000 inhabitants and now represents a real threat. Food is no longer available for 2,000 children under the age of 12 months. The number of premature births and miscarriages has tripled. A baby abortion was reported today as an ambulance was not available due to a lack of fuel. The consequences of the blockade are being felt especially in the health sector of Arzakh, affecting the most vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, the chronically ill and the elderly. Lack of food has led to malnutrition and starvation.

Associazione per i Popoli Minacciati