Azerbaijan is using the humanitarian issues and the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh as a leverage to put pressure on the peaceful population of Artsakh and create unbearable living conditions for them, Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan said in a statement.
The comments come after the Azerbaijani side again blocked the entry of the vehicles transporting patients and accompanying people to Artsakh, as well as the already limited amount of medicines transported from Armenia to Artsakh by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) this morning. This time Azerbaijan used the false pretext of “smuggling.”
“Cars belonging to the ICRC are hardly being searched in any part of the world as thoroughly as they are done at the illegally installed checkpoint of Azerbaijan, which aims to deliberately obstruct the mission of the only international humanitarian organization in Artsakh,” the Human Rights Defender said.
He stressed that “Azerbaijan clearly ignores the special status of the ICRC defined by international law, which envisages the inviolability of ICRC personnel, vehicles and cargo.”
“This is not the first case when Azerbaijan deliberately creates obstacles for the activities of the ICRC in Artsakh. Earlier, the Azerbaijani side demanded to check the passports and vehicles of the ICRC drivers, as well as of the transported patients at the illegally installed site. Since June 15, due to the obstacles that had arisen, the bilateral transportation of patients and their accompanying persons to Artsakh by the ICRC was completely suspended for 10 days,” Stepanyan said.
“By undermining the activities of the ICRC, the Azerbaijani side once again proves that humanitarian issues and the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh are used as a leverage to put pressure on the peaceful population of Artsakh and create unbearable living conditions for them,” he noted.
“Recently, the Azerbaijani state propaganda machine has been actively promoting the illegal demand to either suspend the ICRC Office in Nagorno-Karabakh or subordinate it to the ICRC office in Baku, constantly looking for a reason to justify and implement its goal. And today’s incident is part of the chain of actions aimed at implementing this vile policy of Azerbaijan,” the Ombudsman stated.