During the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva on October 11th, 34 countries made a joint statement expressing deep concern about the severe humanitarian and human rights crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. The joint statement was read by the Permanent Mission of France to the UN office in Geneva.
Below is the full text of the statement:
“We are deeply concerned about the severe humanitarian and human rights crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the situation of the population that has fled from there in recent weeks.
According to the UN mission’s report in the region, almost the entire ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, over 100,000 people, fled to Armenia. Their report rightly highlights the suffering this experience must have caused.
This mass displacement of ethnic Armenians from their homes was caused by Azerbaijan’s military operation, which began on September 19, and a nine-month blockade of the Lachin corridor, leading to dire humanitarian conditions.
We highly appreciate the statement of High Commissioner Turk from September 26, which contains a call to protect the rights of ethnic Armenians, the protection of civilians, and adherence to international law. We fully agree that “reports of human rights violations or breaches of international humanitarian law require subsequent measures, including a swift, independent, and transparent investigation.”
We believe that the next step for the OHCHR should be to closely monitor the human rights situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, meet with refugees, displaced persons, and those who remain, and keep the Council informed. Therefore, we urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to offer the OHCHR technical assistance as soon as possible.
At present, we call on Azerbaijan to ensure the rights and safety of those Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh who remain and to promptly create conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of those who wish to go home. Their cultural and religious heritage must also be guaranteed and protected.
We also urge Azerbaijan to comply with the interim measures adopted by the European Court of Human Rights on September 22, and the provisional measures of the International Court taken on December 7, 2021, February 22, 2023, and July 6, 2023.
We call on Armenia, with the support of the international community, to continue providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the crisis.
International access to Nagorno-Karabakh is crucial for providing assistance and independent monitoring, including reporting on the human rights situation.
Furthermore, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Armenia and Azerbaijan should be fully respected. We firmly support dialogue among all parties to ensure comprehensive and lasting peace.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and consider any potential further steps by the Council.
List of countries that signed the statement: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Canada, Cyprus, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Uruguay, Finland, France, Croatia, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan.