The ongoing blockade of the Lachin corridor is endangering the lives of thousands of people in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Amnesty International said today.
The human rights organization called on Azerbaijan’s authorities and Russian peacekeepers to immediately unblock the route and bring an end to the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
“The road, which connects Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, has been inaccessible to all civilian and commercial traffic since 12 December 2022 after being blockaded by dozens of Azerbaijani protesters, widely believed to be backed by the country’s authorities. The situation has left some 120,000 ethnic Armenian residents in Nagorno-Karabakh without access to essential goods and services, including life-saving medication and health care,” Amnesty said.
Interviews conducted with health workers and residents in the region revealed the blockade’s particularly harsh impact on at-risk groups including women, older people, and people with disabilities.
“The blockade has resulted in severe shortages of food and medical supplies, as humanitarian aid delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers has been insufficient to meet demand. Disruptions to the supply of electricity, natural gas and vehicle fuel add up to extreme hardship, especially for groups who are vulnerable to discrimination and marginalization. This must end now,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“The Azerbaijani authorities have internationally recognized sovereignty over these territories and exercise control over the territory from which the blockade is being carried out. It is Azerbaijan’s obligation to undertake to ensure that the population in Nagorno-Karabakh is not denied access to food and other essential goods and medications. For its part, the Russian peacekeeping mission is mandated to ensure the safety of the Lachin corridor. However, both parties are manifestly failing to fulfil their obligations,” she added.