The EU must resume its active role as a promoter of justice and fight against hatred, violence and barbarism.
On this day last year, amidst a global pandemic, the Azerbaijani criminal regime – backed by Erdogan’s Turkey and Syrian terrorist groups – unleashed a full-scale deadly military aggression on the Republic of Artsakh. The war that lasted 44 days and which involved a massive use of destructive drones and prohibited weapons by the Azerbaijani army, led to thousands of deaths and tens of the thousands wounded including hundreds of civilians. We remember them and honor their memories. Thousands of Armenians from Artsakh lost their towns, villages or homes becoming new refugees or IDPs and hundreds of Armenians continue to be illegally held captive by Azerbaijan as Prisoners of War (POWs).
Throughout the war Azerbaijan blatantly violated the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), attacking and destroying churches, hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructures in Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh. These war crimes perpetrated by the Azerbaijani army were well-documented by the international media and human rights defending organizations.
Today, one year later, the fundamental rights of the people of Artsakh are still grossly violated, Azerbaijan continues to illegally occupy a large part of the Republic of Artsakh and is expanding its violence and threats into the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Armenia violating the latter’s sovereignty and the territorial integrity, namely in the Region of Syunik in South of Armenia.
Also, Azerbaijan still illegally detains Armenian POWs failing to fulfill its international obligations under the Geneva convention and the paragraph 9 of the trilateral ceasefire document, according to which the sides agreed on the principle “all captives in exchange for all captives”. Moreover, the Azerbaijani side has been using the Armenian captives to illicit new gains and cause more suffering to them and their families in addition to their physical and psychological torturing and humiliating.
In Europe, despite many resolutions by numerous EU member state parliaments and by the European parliament strongly condemning the Azerbaijani attack as well as the Turkish involvement, despite many other resolutions urging Azerbaijan to release all the Armenian POWS and to respect the right of self-determination of the people of Artsakh, and despite the calls for sanctions against Turkey and Azerbaijan for using military means to resolve a political conflict, the EU diplomatic bodies have clearly failed to part with their reckless both-sidesism which equals to supporting the oppressor and didn’t take any substantial steps to stop the ongoing Turkish-Azerbaijani expansionist tandem.
For the sake of its own credibility and viability, the European Union must stay true to its values and reputation, show solidarity with the victims, resume its active role as a promoter of justice and rule of law and fight against hatred, violence and barbarism.
European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy