Artsakh’s (Nagorno-Karabakh) Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan addressed a video message to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs - Russia, France, the United States, human rights defenders from all over the world, international organizations and human rights organizations.
“Hello. As the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), as a person responsible for the protection of the rights of the people living in Artsakh, I once again appeal to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs - the Russian Federation, the United States, France, to human rights defenders and ombudspersons of all states, to international institutions and human rights organizations, to inform that thousands of Armenians living in Artsakh are regularly subjected to terroristic and genocidal acts carried out by Azerbaijan every day.
Just a year and half ago, in the fall of 2020, a military aggression was launched against the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was accompanied by numerous war-crimes committed by Azerbaijan, torturing and humiliating our prisoners of war, targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, vandalizing Armenian cultural heritage, and many other.
All those facts were appropriately documented in our reports and presented to the international organizations. Back then, the international community and the organizations with the primary mandate to protect human rights did not respond properly by artificially putting an equality sign between the aggressor and the victim of aggression, they allowed Azerbaijan to continue its atrocities.
Over the past year, the Azerbaijani side used every method at its disposal to intimidate our people, to subject them to psychological attacks, to shoot at civilian communities, schools, kindergarten, and other objects of social significance to destroy our churches, monasteries, cemeteries.
The deliberate and coordinated actions of the Azerbaijani authorities are aimed at evicting Armenians from Artsakh, and pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing.
In recent days, the Azerbaijani actions are more aggressive. They are using different weapons, including large-caliber grenade launchers, in the direction of civilian communities. The residents of Khnapat, Khramort, Karmir Shuka, Taghavard, Khnushinak, and other are becoming a direct target for Azerbaijani criminal actions. It is the seventh day, the whole population of Artsakh is deprived of gas.
The Azerbaijani sides does not allow specialists to approach the damaged part of the only gas pipeline coming from Armenia to Artsakh. As a result, a number of humanitarian problems have arisen in Artsakh, such as proper heating, availability of hot water, properalization of the right to education, healthcare and many other issues.
The Azerbaijani actions must be assessed properly. Yes, Azerbaijan is implementing a policy of ethnic cleansing with its genocidal behavior. And all the people, all the institutions, who really care about human rights, must not remain indifferent.
Human rights are universal, therefore, they should be free of double standards and differentiated approaches. I appeal you once again with the hope that you will rise your voice and take real steps to put pressure on Azerbaijani authorities and urge them to refrain from hatred, intolerance and criminal actions against the people of Artsakh. Thank you,” Stepanyan said.