International community has a responsibility to act and protect the people of Artsakh, Armenia’s envoy tells UN

At this time of existential threat to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, the international community, represented by its most collective institution- the United Nations, has a responsibility to act and to protect, Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Mher Margaryan said at the UNGA Plenary Debate on “The Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

He reminded that since 12 December 2022, a vital transportation corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia has been essentially disrupted, leaving a population of 120,000 people cut off from the outside world in conditions of a deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

“The ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor, in violation of the existing legal obligations, and the order of International Court of Justice continues to endanger the lives of innocent civilians,   contrary to the fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law, which clearly prohibits the targeting of civilian populations, imposition of collective punishments and the use of starvation as a method of warfare,” Ambassador Margaryan said.

“It has been over 6 months now that Armenia appealed to the United Nations to dispatch an interagency mission to assess the humanitarian, security and human rights situation of the affected population in Nagorno-Karabakh, in line with the humanitarian principles. We have also been consistently requesting that a UNESCO fact-finding mission be deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent areas in order to help preserve the vast and unique cultural heritage of the region,” he noted.

“The continued violations of the fundamental human rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and the denial of international humanitarian presence on the ground reveal the intent to inflict maximum harm on the population by creating unbearable conditions for life – a clearly detectable warning sign of a pre-meditated genocidal policy,” he stated.

“The international community can no longer look the other way when faced with the clearly detectable warning signs of genocide, when grave and systematic human rights violations are routinely perpetrated. The United Nations, its respective bodies and structures as “duty bearers” have yet to meet their obligations vis-à-vis the “rights holders”, the ordinary people, women, children, the elderly, the most vulnerable, who remain entrapped confronted with the genocidal policies of Azerbaijan,” the AMbassador added.

He stressed that the international community has a shared responsibility to prevent and protect populations from atrocity crimes and to ensure that grave violations do not go unchecked.

“Impunity for violations of the international norms and principles has emboldened Azerbaijan to resort to new provocations and military escalation. Their armed forces continue to violate the ceasefire regime, targeting civilians carrying out agricultural works, as well as border communities, in an attempt to terrorize, inflict psychological pressure and deprive the population of the means of subsistence,” Mher Margaryan stated.

“Armenia is fully committed to efforts to effectively address and combat impunity, including through the mechanisms of the international criminal jurisdiction. We also support the process elaboration and adoption of a universally accepted treaty on preventing and punishing of crimes against humanity,” he said.

“We will continue to work with all international partners and the UN system in order to uphold the principle of the responsibility to protect as a critical framework for preventing atrocities, promoting human rights and upholding peace, security, and justice,” the Permanent Representative concluded.

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