EFA President: “We cannot remain passive whilst witnessing war crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh””

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has worsened dramatically in recent days, with more attacks by Azerbaijan being reported.

Worryingly, many of these attacks have been on civilians, as well as on civilian infrastructure.

More artillery strikes against towns and cities in the Republic of Artsakh are being reported. So far 45 civilians have been killed and 120 wounded.

It is estimated that around 13,100 houses and apartments and 2000 private vehicles have also been destroyed. This is especially worrying given the onset of winter in this mountainous territory, and Covid-19 is an additional potential cause for concern, given that many who have lost their homes may have to shelter together in underground basements in close quarters.

A number of roads have been closed meaning that movement is extremely limited between population centres, and many people remain trapped and unable to reach or to leave their homes.

Not only are there increasing attacks on civilians, but internationally-banned weapons are being deployed by Azeri forces, including white phosphorus, which was also used by Turkey in Syria. Many forests in the area remain on fire as a result of the use of white phosphorus in the area.

In a recent interview with the University of Southern California Institute of Armenian Studies, Armine Aleksanyan, Deputy Foreign Minister, said that Azerbaijan “has made no secret that it will not stop hostilities until Armenians are expelled from Karabakh.” She asses that Turkey is “openly supporting both politically and militarily its neighbour Azerbaijan [and] Erdogan went further to say that [Azerbaijan] should continue the job its ancestors started a hundred years ago” with the Armenian genocide. “The clear message there is that the aim is genocide and the gaining of territory.”

These recent reports are extremely worrying, and the activities carried out by Azeri forces are to be considered as war crimes.

EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle said:

We are talking about deliberate attacks on civilians, the use of banned arm fire, and ethnic cleansing. This is happening in the 21st century on Europe’s doorstep. We cannot remain passive whilst witnessing such war crimes. It is time to act, time to foster peaceful negotiations, time to implement the right to decide of all Peoples.”

The European Free Alliance is monitoring the situation closely, and hosted a webinar on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh recently. EFA Members of the European Parliament are active on this issue, and are currently organising a parliamentary support group for Nagorno-Karabakh, open for MEPs from all political groups to join.

EFA also calls for the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the right to decide their own future.