Brussels, 13 September 2023 – The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) strongly condemns the recent statement by the European Union concerning the elections in Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh. The statement, its timing and content are unjustified, given the ongoing acute humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh.
Multiple reports and statements from independent experts and international human rights organizations have warned about Azerbaijan’s continued policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh and its genocidal essence. In a recent report the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, contends that there is a “reasonable basis” to believe Azerbaijan is currently committing a genocide against the indigenous Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh. The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, Genocide Watch have also issued several alerts regarding this grave situation. The illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan, which impedes access to food, medical supplies, and other essentials, constitutes a blatant violation of the Genocide Convention and the trilateral statement signed by Azerbaijan.
The principles of international law were never created to be used as a tool to facilitate an ethnic cleansing or commit atrocities against a population. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan is abusing the principle of territorial integrity as a pretext to carry out ethnic cleansing and eliminate the indigenous Armenian population from their own homeland Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh. Moreover, Azerbaijan has created an open-air prison in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh and is using i.a. starvation as a tool to implement its destructive policy.
Diplomatic negotiations and peace talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group have always been based on the three basic principles: the non-use of force, the right to self-determination, and territorial integrity. The right to self-determination for the native Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh equals to nothing less than their right to life in the face of Azerbaijan’s genocidal policy.
Unfortunately, the EU’s statement on the recent elections in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh encourages Azerbaijan in its destructive stance. The international community entails responsibility to protect (R2P) populations facing genocide or the threat of genocide. The EU’s failure to act in accordance with these principles is deeply concerning. By implying that the indigenous Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh should integrate into Azerbaijani society without addressing the ongoing hostility, atrocities, and ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan, the EU indirectly encourages the brutal oppression of Armenians.
EAFJD as a pan-European grassroots organization deeply appreciates the efforts of President Charles Michel’s mediation efforts in this highly complex situation. Nevertheless, aligning with Azerbaijan’s narrative on the recent elections in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh the EU indirectly encourages Azerbaijan’s genocidal policies against the indigenous Armenian population.
As EU citizens, we call upon our leadership to reconsider EU’s stance in this regard. Using a principle of international law as a justification to push an indigenous population to the mercy of a dictatorial oppressor such as Azerbaijan is reckless at best and inherently bears responsibility. Credibility on the long-term holds greater value than relying on oil and gas from an authoritarian regime, especially when these resources can, at best, meet less than 4 percent of the EU’s overall consumption.