Breaking

A sham appeals court in Azerbaijan affirmed a 15-year prison sentence for the 68-year-old ethnic Armenian from Nagorno-Karabakh, who was forcefully abducted by Azerbaijani security services last summer while being transported in a Red Cross (ICRC) vehicle.

Investigation: Armenian Fears of a ‘Concentration Camp’ in Nagorno-Karabakh May Have Been Warranted

Newly Available Satellite Imagery Suggests a Possible Basis for Rumors Azerbaijan Was Preparing to Imprison the Ethnic Armenians

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Even More Journalists Arrested and Charged in Azerbaijan as Press Crackdown Continues

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World Leaders, NGOs Condemn Azerbaijan’s Ethnic Cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Advocates Accountability for Azerbaijan’s Actions in Nagorno- Karabakh Genocide

The Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published her observations following her visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh. It was the first time in decades that a human rights mission of this kind was able to visit the Karabakh region.

  • Exposes that the protests on December 16, 2022, blocking the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia were backed by Azerbaijani authorities, causing a severe disruption in essential goods and services, leading to the isolation of Karabakh Armenians.
  • Highlights the gravity of frequent gas supply cuts by Azerbaijan to the region during freezing winter conditions.
    Emphasizes
  • Azerbaijan’s failure to comply with International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders.
  • Underscores the implementation of a total blockade by Azerbaijani authorities, including delays and bans on International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and humanitarian aid, further aggravating the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Points out that Azerbaijan’s control and continued intimidatory acts have compelled many to leave the region immediately out of fear for their lives. This includes acts of intimidation through the dissemination of audio-visual content via Azerbaijani media platforms depicting past atrocities and violence.
  • Addresses the tragic consequences of long queues of cars and arduous journeys, resulting in severe situations with people losing their lives on the roads.
  • Highlights the current scenario where very few ethnic Armenians remain in the region, predominantly older individuals, those in poor health, persons with disabilities, or those unable to travel.
  • Urges Azerbaijan to comply with ICJ order, ensuring a safe, unimpeded, and expeditious return for those who left Nagorno-Karabakh after September 19, 2023.

 

Read the Commissioner’s Observations Following her Visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan, Including the Karabakh Region

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UK House of Lords Committee Holds Hearing on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia- Azerbaijan Relations

The International Relations and Defence Committee of the House of Lords held a hearing on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. During the hearing, Marina Nagai representing International Alert and Thomas de Waal provided testimonies and answers to questions raised by the House of Lords.

The Rt Hon. the Lord Boateng addressed the hearing, expressing concern about the leverage held by the US, the EU, and the UK in guaranteeing the enforcement of human rights in Nagorno-Karabakh. He emphasized the pivotal importance of securing the right of return for Karabakh Armenians. Lord Boateng underscored that there hasn’t been a particularly strong track record in safeguarding the rights of displaced individuals on a global scale.

Baroness Cox expressed two pressing concerns regarding individuals who have been abducted by Azerbaijan and are currently detained, particularly those associated with the Armenian leadership. Additionally, she highlighted apprehensions about Azerbaijan’s encroachment into Armenian territory.

Watch the Full Hearing

French Senate Overwhelmingly Adopts Resolution Supporting Armenia’s Territorial Integrity and Condemning Azerbaijan’s Ethnic Cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh

The French Senate voted 336 to 1 to adopt a resolution supporting Armenia and demanding sanctions against Azerbaijan.

  • Affirms support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia.
  • Condemns the military attack on Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan and its allies on September 19 and 20, 2023.
  • Urges Azerbaijan to ensure the safe return of the Armenian population to Nagorno- Karabakh.
  • Calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from the sovereign territory of Armenia.
  • Acknowledges Armenia’s right to protect its territorial integrity and security, including through military means.
  • Condemns the arbitrary arrests of political leaders in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Advocates for the removal of Azerbaijan from the intergovernmental committee for the protection of cultural values during armed conflicts.
  • Highlights the establishment of an international group of experts at UNESCO to report on the state of cultural and religious heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Emphasizes the importance of implementing severe measures, such as seizing the assets of Azerbaijani leaders and imposing an embargo on gas and oil imports from Azerbaijan, in response to Azerbaijan’s military aggression.

The session was chaired by the vice president of the Senate, Sophie Primas. Stephane Sejourne, the newly appointed Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, was also present at the meeting.

Robert F. Kennedy: I will do Everything in my Power to Peacefully Restore the Armenian Sovereignty of Artsakh

“One of the things that I won’t forget as President of the United States is the struggle of Armenians for sovereignty, for dignity, for their right to reunify their country, including Artsakh, which has been since 200 BC, has been the birthplace of the Armenian people,” stated Kennedy. “And the fact that the world didn’t notice this rich ethnic cleansing – this genocide – is really striking to me.”

Human Rights Watch Report Sheds Light on Azerbaijan’s Genocidal Actions in Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Underlines Azerbaijan’s persistent refusal to implement the
    International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) interim measures in February
    and July.
  • Draws attention to Azerbaijan’s actions starting in mid-June,
    wherein they obstructed all humanitarian goods transport and
    periodically blocked International Committee of the Red Cross
    (ICRC) patient transports.
  • Points out that even before the military operation in September, sporadic military skirmishes had erupted along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and in Nagorno-Karabakh. These skirmishes posed a threat to the safety and livelihoods of civilians residing in those areas.
  • Highlights the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution and the European Parliament’s resolution, calling on Azerbaijan to “allow the safe return of the Armenian population” and “offer solid guarantees regarding the protection of their rights.”

Armenia Cited as a Case Where ICJ Provisional Measures Fail to Prevent Genocide

During the proceedings, Ms. Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh KC, Counsel and Advocate for the Republic of South Africa to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), underscored the Armenia vs. Azerbaijan case, citing it as an example where ICJ-ordered provisional measures have fallen short in preventing genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Driven by Fear from Nagorno-Karabakh

We’re Home, And Yet We’re Not

“Who would have thought that we would see this day? I wish I could make at least one trip back home, just to see my house once more..We are at home in Armenia, and yet we are not, ” says Gayane Mangasaryan, 56.

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A Life in One Suitcase։ The Karabakh Armenians Who Continued Onward to Russia

“My entire life is packed in this one suitcase,” a 70-year-old Armen from Stepanakert, who had just arrived in Goris amid the mass exodus of the ethnic Armenian population from Nagorno- Karabakh. After a 90-kilometer journey lasting 30 hours due to a traffic jam of fleeing cars, he was en route to the Armenian capital.

However, Yerevan was not his final destination. In two days, he would arrive in Moscow to reunite with his daughter.
“Do I need Moscow?” he asked the driver before answering his own question: “Certainly not. I am leaving for Moscow to be with my daughter in my final days.”

Uncertain Future for Refugees from Nagorno- Karabakh

Many who fled to Armenia have received financial support but continue to struggle in a familiar yet foreign land.

Testimonies from Nagorno-Karabakh that the World Ignored

Weeks after thousands of ethnic Armenian families forcibly evacuated from Nagorno-Karabakh, journalist
Gohar Abrahamyan visited some of these families at a refugee camp, located near Gyumri, Armenia.

“As you pass through the camp’s gates, the sounds of children fill the air. For around 300 days, these children were getting too hungry, dreaming of a piece of chocolate or any sweet tea, and sleeping in the shelters under bombing and heavy shelling. A 9-year-old girl, who once was a lively and excellent student, now struggles to concentrate in class and barely interacts with her peers. Her friend says she is constantly crying.”

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Photos of the week

Photo Exhibition in Place de la Bastille, Paris, raises awareness about the endangered Armenian heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Photo courtesy of Embassy of Armenia in France.

Mariam Shekyan cares for her neighbor, Araksya Simonyan, 98, at Caritas Armenia’s refugee camp in Torosgyugh, Armenia.

Photo courtesy of Nazik Armenakyan.

Srbuhi Vanyan, a refugee from Nagorno-Karabakh, presenting her products at the New Year exhibition and sale in Yerevan, Armenia.

Photo courtesy of Gayane Mkrtchyan.

Security

EU Again Warns Azerbaijan Against Attacking Armenia

The EU again warned Azerbaijan against invading Armenia following Baku’s renewed demands for Yerevan to open an extraterritorial corridor to the Nakhichevan exclave.

“The EU has been using every opportunity to pass clear messages to Azerbaijan that any violation of Armenia’s territorial integrity would be unacceptable and will have severe consequences for our relations,” the EU foreign policy spokesman, Peter Stano, stated.

Armenia Can Never Give Up Its Sovereignty – Lawmaker Responds to Aliyev’s Statements Demanding an Extraterritorial Corridor through Armenia to Nakhijevan

Aliyev renewed the call for Armenia to yield sovereignty and establish a Turkish corridor between Nakhijevan and Azerbaijan.

“Armenia has been doing everything to have open borders and maintain its sovereignty. We are going in that direction, this is a priority for us,” the MP said.

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State Department Global Anti-Corruption Coordinator: U.S. will Help Armenia Fight Corruption

Armenian PM received Richard Nephew, Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption of the US State Department.
Nephew noted that the US administration will continue to support the Armenian government in strengthening democracy, effective implementation of reforms in the field of justice and fighting corruption.

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France Demands Release of Citizen Accused of Espionage in Azerbaijan

Baku Warns Against Paris ‘Intervention’ in Frenchman’s Arrest Amid Accusations of French Support for Armenia

French national Martin Ryan was arrested on December 4 last year, according to Azerbaijan authorities, suspected of “espionage”.

Russia Rejects Criticism of Peacekeepers in Karabakh

Russian peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh presided over the exodus of the entire population they were sent there to protect. Moscow says they’ve done a great job.

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Baku Reportedly Refused to Meet with Senior U.S. Diplomat

Azerbaijan refused to receive the Senior Adviser to the US Secretary of State for negotiations in the Caucasus, co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Louis Bono, who wanted to meet with Ilham Aliyev after he visited Yerevan.

Military Academy after Vazgen Sargsyan of Armenia’s Ministry of Defense included in International Association of Military Academies

Head of EU Delegation to Armenia: EU-Armenia Initiates 2024 with Vigorous Efforts to Enhance Cooperation

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Economy

Government Funds U.S.-Armenian Joint Venture Move Away From Azerbaijani Border

Armenia’s government approved a concessional loan worth 3.5 billion drams ($8.6 million) to a U.S.-Armenian joint venture that relocated, for security reasons, a metallurgical plant that it began building on the border with Azerbaijan last year.

The automatic gunfire, which left two Indian workers seriously wounded, began one week after the Azerbaijani government protested against the $70 million project.

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Opinion

Is the West Repeating its Iraqi Kurdistan Mistakes in Azerbaijan?
By Michael Rubin

As with Iraqi Kurdistan, foreign influences also sow internal discord. The Russian General Staff is the predominant influence among the Azerbaijani army, while Turkey dominates Azerbaijan’s Special Forces. Aliyev is no longer the paramount influence for either.

​Western countries may want to gamble on Aliyev to counter Iran or ensure energy, but, as with Iraqi Kurdistan before, internal discord undermines the foundation of stability. The questions today are whether American strategists will make the same mistake twice, and whether Washington can afford another bad bet.

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Artsakh: The Final Days of a Christian Community
By Lela Gilbert

Today, more than 100,000 Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh are struggling to begin new lives in Armenia. Their hopes for returning to their earlier lives in Artsakh are fading, while their struggle to restart their lives is a daunting challenge. Although their plight is not widely reported in the United States, these Christian believers deserve our concern and our prayers.

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“Western Azerbaijan”, Pan-Turkism and International Law
By Davit Khachatryan

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War served as a pivotal moment for Turkey to recalibrate the status quo in the Caucasus. Ankara’s military support played a central role in Baku’s victory.

The direct involvement of the Turkish military and mercenaries in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the side of Azerbaijan marked the apex of Erdogan’s assertive Pan-Turkism policy.

Will the Real Azerbaijani Environmentalists Stand Up?
By Michael Rubin

Neither Washington nor Yerevan should be silent. Aliyev cynically shielded his ethnic cleansing campaign behind a façade of environmentalism but, by so doing, he made environmentalism fair game for broader diplomatic discussion.

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Refugee Influx Challenges Armenia
By Mark Temnycky

Human Rights Watch says that the small numbers of Armenians now remaining should receive protection from Azerbaijan, but added that assurances from its officials were, “difficult to accept at face value after the months of severe hardships, decades of conflict, impunity for alleged crimes, in particular during hostilities, and the Azerbaijani government’s overall deteriorating human rights record.”

To Tackle Climate Change, we Must Protect Human Rights By Paul Polman Last year, Azerbaijani forces drove more than 100,000 Armenians from the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh after a prolonged siege. Human rights organisations have described these actions as tantamount to genocide, opens new tab. Rewarding such behaviour by allowing the country to host COP29 sends the wrong message to the international community. Read More Here

Israel Must Protect Armenian Christians From Attacks in Jerusalem
By Armen Sarkissian

The former President of Armenia: In Jerusalem’s Old City, home to
the world’s oldest Armenian diaspora community, violence has
broken out amid a land dispute that could threaten the Armenian
Quarter’s future. We demand immediate intervention by the Israeli authorities.

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No, Erdogan Should Never Again Step Foot in the White House
By Michael Rubin

Secretary of State Antony Blinken knew he was entering a hornets nest when, last week, he stopped off in Ankara to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has been a problematic partner at the best of times: He plays Washington and Moscow off each other for profit and sells Ukraine drones while helping Russia evade sanctions to fund its war effort. He instigated if not directed Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh’s indigenous Armenian Christian community and used the world’s distraction with the Israel- Hamas war to pulverize Kurdish civilian and economic infrastructure in Syria.