European Churches urge action for humanitarian crisis in Artsakh

As the seven-month blockade of Artsakh continues, European Churches call for international action to reopen the Lachin corridor, urging sustained dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan to attain long-term peace in the region, Vatican News reports.

The European Churches have reiterated their appeal for lifting the ongoing blockade of Nagorno Karabakh by reopening the Lachin Corridor.

The over seven-month blockade is seriously affecting the lives and living conditions of 120,000 ethnic Armenians living there, including 30,000 children, who are lacking food, medication, electricity, and fuel.

“This is a crime against humanity,” said Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian, the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, in a message to the Sir news agency.  “There are children, elderly people, sick people, hungry people and in this desperate scenario nobody is doing anything,” the Patriarch lamented.

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have also expressed their concerns for the humanitarian crisis in Upper Karabakh, and reiterated the need for urgent and immediate action by the international community.

“The humanitarian crisis in the blockaded enclave of Upper-Karabakh (Artsakh) is escalating into tragic levels of experiences with the prolonged deprivations and sufferings of civilians,” reads a joint letter they addressed last week to the European Union. “Their fundamental human rights are increasingly violated on a daily basis.”

The WCC and the CEC therefore urge the European Union and the entire international community “to step up immediately their efforts and act without delay to bring the blockade to an end in order to save the lives of the Artsakh residents and to restore and respect their fundamental rights and freedoms.”

The letter also emphasizes the crucial need for Armenia and Azerbaijan to normalize their relations after decades of hostilities through a “sustained dialogue” between Baku and the breakaway Republic of Artsakh.

“We reiterate our firm conviction that lasting peace could be built only on the genuine commitment of all interested parties in negotiations who take seriously the full observance of all human rights and the fundamental freedom of all people based on mutual trust and respect,” said the letter. 

“We continue to hope and pray for the ending of this blockade so that peace, harmony and justice may prevail.”

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