LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — September 27th marks the first anniversary of Azerbaijan’s unprovoked invasion of the Artsakh Republic (Nagorno-Karabakh), where for 44 days the region’s indigenous Armenian population were subject to a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Armed with Turkish drones and illegal cluster munitions, Azerbaijani forces routinely bombarded civilian populations resulting in the destruction of schools, homes, medical facilities and cultural sites, displacing up to 100,000 people.
In areas seized during the course of Azerbaijan’s offensive campaign, captured Armenian servicemembers and civilians were subject to torture, mutilation and summary execution at the hands of Azerbaijani forces and foreign terror-linked militias deployed by Turkey – which provided military and logistical support to Azerbaijan during the course of the war.
Hundreds of prisoners of war and civilian captives remain in Azerbaijan’s illegal detention to this day, where they continue to face severe abuse and torture.
Both during and since the fighting, Armenian cultural heritage sites have been desecrated and destroyed, mirroring efforts by the Azerbaijani government to destroy any trace of Armenian civilization in other historically Armenian regions – including Nakhijevan, where the Azerbaijani government undertook the systematic erasure of up to 28,000 cultural monuments in the early 2000s.
Even after a trilateral statement – mediated by Russia – signed on November 10, 2020 put an end to active hostilities, Azerbaijan’s belligerency continued; as it sought to consolidate territorial gains, and encroach into the Republic of Armenia itself.
Today, it is estimated up to a thousand Azerbaijani troops remain entrenched illegally within parts of Armenia, where they have established checkpoints preventing the free transport of people and goods within the sovereign borders of Armenia.
Azerbaijan has also continued its policy of belligerency towards Armenia through its continued state-sponsored propagation of anti-Armenian racism (Armenophobia). The opening of a “War Trophy Park” in Baku displaying racist caricatures of Armenians being killed and taken hostage, the use of genocidal symbolism in state postage stamps depicting Artsakh being chemically cleansed, and the praise of Enver Pasha – one of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide – at a victory parade following the war attest to Azerbaijan’s genocidal intent.
Despite widespread reports of Azerbaijan’s violations of international humanitarian law, the response of the international community to the brazen act of aggression has been nothing short of negligent.
Azerbaijan and Turkey have demonstrated through their ongoing persecution, dehumanization and aggression against the Armenian people that they are neither able nor willing to secure the rights of the Armenians of Artsakh – reinforcing the urgent need to ensure the right to self-determination by means of remedial secession for the Armenians of Artsakh is upheld.
For the Armenian people, Azerbaijan’s assault on Artsakh could not help but evoke the traumatic memory of the Armenian Genocide – as many feared Azerbaijan’s wanton targeting of civilian communities and hateful rhetoric heralded a continuation of that still-unpunished crime against humanity perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, its allies and its successors.
Azerbaijan’s conduct since the end of the war has not inspired confidence that a peaceful resolution to this crisis is on the horizon.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) calls on the United States to work with fellow co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – which oversees the mediation of the conflict resolution process – to ensure a long-term resolution to this crisis through a status-determination process for Artsakh, which remains the only means of protecting the fundamental human rights and ensuring the basic political, economic and cultural freedoms for the Armenians of Artsakh in the face of the ongoing existential threat represented by Azerbaijan.
SOURCE Armenian National Committee of America Western Region