EU Urges Protection of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh Amidst Mass Exodus

This past Friday, the European Union urged Azerbaijani authorities to ensure the rights of Armenians affected by recent military operations in Nagorno Karabakh. The EU emphasized the necessity for a United Nations mission to access the region due to the “mass exodus” caused by Azerbaijan’s military actions on September 19.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Action Service, under the direction of Josep Borrell, drew attention to the significant displacement of Armenians from Karabakh following the Azeri Army’s takeover, resulting in the departure of almost 85,000 people, constituting two-thirds of Nagorno Karabakh’s population.

Expressing deep concern, European diplomacy stressed the urgency for a UN mission to access the territory promptly. They also requested humanitarian access to address the needs of both displaced individuals and those opting to remain in the separatist region.

The EU underscored Azerbaijan’s responsibility to ensure the rights and security of Karabakh Armenians, emphasizing their right to live in their homes without intimidation or discrimination. The right of displaced individuals to return was also emphasized.

Acknowledging the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross in facilitating the urgent evacuation of the injured and sick, the EU expressed its support for on-the-ground emergency assistance. They lauded these efforts as essential for addressing the humanitarian crisis.

The EU acknowledged the Azeri authorities’ initiative to register Armenian residents and committed to closely monitoring the situation’s evolution. Despite Baku’s assurances that residents should stay in their homes with guaranteed rights, skepticism remains in Yerevan, leading tens of thousands to choose relocation.

Nagorno Karabakh, a 4,400-square-kilometer territory in the South Caucasus, was swiftly reclaimed by Azerbaijan in a 24-hour military offensive starting on September 19. This followed wars in 1988-1994 and 2020. Despite being recognized internationally as Azerbaijani sovereignty, the area, with an Armenian majority, had been under the control of pro-Armenian forces for over three decades.

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