Leaving people starving and freezing amounts to an act of genocide: Cyprus MP urges Azerbaijan to open the Lachin corridor

We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure freedom and security of movement along the Lachin corridor in accordance with the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020, Cyprus delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Constantinos Efstathiou said during the debate on the humanitarian consequences of the blockade of the Lachin corridor.

“Restrictions to freedom of movement in this strip of land are causing significant distress to the local population and has the potential to create a humanitarian crisis. Access and supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh must be unconditionally restored and Azerbaijan must honor the trilateral agreement and guarantee the safety of people, vehicles and goods moving along the corridor,” he said.

“This is the sole road connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. As a result of the blockade, thousands of people are stranded and unable to reach their homes, including children. This alarming situation threatens to derail the fragile peace process and may well lead to the resumption of violence. This could have disastrous consequences, impacting not only the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan, but the wider South Caucasus region and beyond,” the MP stated.

“As member States of the Council of Europe and in accordance with our values and principles, we call upon the Azerbaijan authorities to immediately open the corridor and desist from any action that could fuel further tensions in an already volatile situation,” he stressed.

“I have personally visited Azerbaijan twice and I have never been to Armenia. I can assure you that Azerbaijani people are gentle, polite, and tolerant. This is why I am so frustrated with the situation in Lachin and the deliberate acts which seek to victimize «amachous». Amachous is a Greek word for people who do not carry arms and cannot defend themselves. It is the mother who cares for her children, the family man who cares for his parents or the child that needs protection, food, and shelter, just because they are Armenians or Christians. After all, we all deserve a better future in Europe and in the whole wide world, notwithstanding our ethnicity, nationality, language, or religion. Leaving people starving, freezing, without medicine, electricity, water supply nor dignity actually amounts to an act of genocide,” Constantinos Efstathiou continued.

“One of the elements defining genocide is deliberately inflicting harsh conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a group,” he said.

“We are at the tipping point of the genocide. Let us not victimize people in order to gain in political terms or for reasons of national interest. Every single person in this world deserves to live in dignity and in full respect of their human rights,” the MP added.

“This message must be clear. Stop the Lachin blockade,” he concluded.

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