Will the International Human Rights Community Take Steps to Stop the Evident Azerbaijani Aggression Against the People of Artsakh?

Photo Credit: David Ghahramanyan

Starting from the early morning of 27 September, 2020, in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijan began launching indiscriminate airstrikes (including UAV strikes) and artillery assaults (including internationally banned cluster weapons) against the Republic of Artsakh (Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh) along the entire line of the border.

The Azerbaijani aggression is openly backed by Turkey which despite the call for peace declared its support to Azerbaijan on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Moreover, there are multiple strong evidences that confirm that Turkey has deployed about 3,000-4,000 mercenaries from northern part of Syria, Libya to Azerbaijan to use them against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Armenia[1]. Besides, France and Russia have also claimed of the evidence of Syrian fighters and terrorist groups brought by Turkey to fight against Artsakh[2]. With the involvement of Turkey and terrorist groups, the situation changed from being local to regional and even global threat. It should be alarming for the international community to stop the atrocities of these terrorist groups which are threat locally, regionally and internationally.

The attack by triple alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan and international terrorists along with committing war crimes, civilians, civilian objects, vital infrastructures, public institutions, cultural properties are deliberately being targeted. While Azerbaijan is under information blockade several attacks on the international journalists working in Artsakh were reported. The Azerbaijani atrocities with the genocidal intentions are accompanied with massive hate speech against ethnic Armenians. It is of no doubt that Turkey and Azerbaijan are committing ethnic cleansing.

According to the latest report prepared by the Artsakh Ombudsman, there has been targeted or indiscriminate attacks on civilians (including the most vulnerable: children, women, the elderly people), infrastructure and civilian objects (schools, kindergartens, hospital). Based on the most recent data, the Azerbaijani armed forces attacked more than 130 civilian communities, including densely populated ones with aerial, artillery, rocket and tank fire strikes, most of which were targeted or indiscriminate, killing and injuring civilians. As of 17 October, 2020, 37 civilians (8 females and 29 males, 1 child and 36 adults) have been killed. 60% of them were killed at the places of their residence[3].

In the territory of Armenia since September 27 drones are attacking communities and peaceful population of Armenia – villages around the town of Vardenis, Gegharkunik Province. The recent occurrence of such an attack took place on October 1 in Shatvan, Mets Masrik villages, Gegharkunik province of Armenia. It ended up with one civilian killed and two injured (including 14 years old child), civilian houses burned out[4].

It is of crucial importance to note the severe consequences on women and children that this humanitarian crisis leaves. Because of the war many women and children, have evacuated to Armenia, as it has been insecure to stay in the places of their residence, any longer. Armed conflict creates disproportional negative health effects for girls and women: public health refers to the provision and protection of conditions that allow people to achieve physical, mental and social well-being and depends upon several basic and essential conditions such as the availability and quality of food, access to health services, etc.

The one of guiding documents for UN Women; the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action describes how girls and women are especially affected by armed conflict because of their unequal status in society and their sex. Women are less directly involved in violence within armed forces, but their lives are highly affected by the consequences of conflicts and the political priorities of militarized societies. Women of all ages face displacement, loss of home and property, loss or involuntary disappearance of close relatives, poverty and family separation and disintegration, victimization through acts of murder, terrorism, torture, involuntary disappearance and sexual abuse[5].

Deployment and use of these militants are not only against the obligations of Turkey and Azerbaijan under public international law but also create major threats for the violation of human rights and the very essence of relevant humanitarian principles.

Thus, this is an alarm for the international human rights organizations and community that speak up for human rights and justice, to take urgent steps to stop the atrocities against the Armenian people in the Republic of Artsakh.

 

We Urge you:

-to raise awareness among the international community and clearly condemn the military offensive and deployment of mercenaries in the region by Azerbaijan and Turkey and act to stop their aggression leading to the ethnic cleansing in Artsakh,

-to make statements to stop azeri aggression and the bombing of civilian homes in Artsakh and Armenia where women and children are direct target,

-to provide support to women and children affected by the war living in the Republic of Artsakh.

 

Meeting with the Political Figures and the Workshop on Writing Policy Proposals

On September 28, members of “Take action” Women Political Club had a chance to meet with prominent woman political figures: MLSA minister’s adviser Olya Azatyan and NA delegate Maria Karapetyan.

The active discussion revolved around the topic entitled “Women’s Involvement in the Governmental and Decision-making Processes; Opportunities and Challenges.”

The next day, the participants of “Take action” had a workshop session on policy writing. Ani Kojoyan, gender studies expert and lecturer of Yerevan State University lead the training, introduced the methods and tools of conducting research and developing policy proposals. The participants of the women’s political club applied their skills and knowledge in writing policy proposals and submitting them to the corresponding governmental bodies.

The topics of researches varied including women’s matters in the agriculture, temporary unemployment and maternity allowance, women’s employment issues in rural communities, excluding violent scenes in television.

We are glad to share that policy proposals and recommendations will be considered for the amendments in laws by the National Assembly of Armenia.

 

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