MFA statement on the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been under blockade for 7 months12 July, 2023
It has already been 7 months since the Azerbaijani authorities have illegally blocked the Lachin corridor, the lifeline linking Nagorno-Karabakh with the outer world.
All the actions undertaken by Azerbaijan around the Lachin corridor during these months, from demonstrations of fake eco-activists to the installation of an illegal checkpoint in the corridor and the well-known “punitive” blockade of movement, come to prove that these steps are clearly preplanned and aimed at creating conditions incompatible with life for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and subjecting them to ethnic cleansing.
These actions of Azerbaijan not only directly contravene the Trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, but also clearly disregard the calls of the civilized community to lift the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the resolutions adopted by various parliaments and the legally binding orders of the International Court of Justice of February 22 and July 6. We would like to reiterate that in its latest Order of July 6, the Court stated that Azerbaijan’s assertions of its compliance with the Court’s Order of 22 February to ensure the unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin corridor, have nothing to do with reality.
During these months, the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the blockade of the Lachin corridor has continued to deteriorate. It is further exacerbated by months-long disruption of the gas and electricity supply by Azerbaijan.
Since June 15, the supply of food to Nagorno-Karabakh has been completely halted. Prior to this, during the unimpeded operation of the Lachin corridor, Nagorno-Karabakh was receiving approximately 400 tons of cargo, whereas, after December 12, the amount of food transported through the Russian peacekeeping contingent decreased by tenfold. Currently, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh faces a real threat of starvation, as the supply of all types of goods has been completely prohibited. The information circulated in Azerbaijani media yesterday about an attempted transportation of tobacco and mobile phone batteries, on the one hand, demonstrates a desperate situation of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh that undermines their dignity and, on the other hand, once again highlights the impossibility of unhindered movement of cargo.
The same situation has developed in the healthcare sector. There is a clear shortage of medicine required for proper medical care. Consequently, several vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, cancer and diabetes patients and children face serious health problems. There has already been an increase in mortality rates in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Only a few people were able to reach Armenia through the ICRC to receive urgent medical care. They and their accompanying persons were subjected to humiliating procedures and degrading treatment, having been filmed and subsequently exploited by the Azerbaijani propaganda machine as a tool to falsely depict an unhindered movement of people through the Lachin corridor.
It is unfortunate that during these months, the international community and international humanitarian organizations have been unable to gain humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh to conduct a proper fact-finding mission and provide humanitarian aid.
Under such circumstances, Armenia expects that the international community will use all available tools to ensure the implementation of the legally binding orders of the International Court of Justice of February 22 and July 6, 2023 on the opening of the Lachin corridor. This is crucial to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh and stop the policy of ethnic cleansing. The civilized world cannot and should not tolerate such actions and disdain of the legally binding Orders of the International Court of Justice.