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Armenia urges UN to monitor human rights in Nagorno-Karabakh

September 24, 2023

While Azerbaijan has promised to safeguard human rights in Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnic Armenians left behind are fearing persecution.

People standing outside a campsite for civilians who have been evacuated
Azerbaijan has taken full control of Nagorno-Karabakh following a military operation this month Image: Russian Defence Ministry/TASS/IMAGO

Armenia on Sunday called for the deployment of a UN mission in Nagorno-Karabakh to monitor human rights and ensure the safety of ethnic Armenians in the region.

The call for a UN mission comes after Azerbaijan launched a military operation to take full control of the disputed enclave, forcing Armenian fighters there to surrender. A cease-fire deal was agreed on Wednesday.

Azerbaijan has said it is committed to protecting the rights of ethnic Armenians Nagorno-Karabakh. But fear of persecution is soaring high among the civilian population left behind in the breakaway region.

"The international community should undertake all the efforts for an immediate deployment of an interagency mission by the UN to Nagorno-Karabakh with the aim to monitor and assess the human rights, humanitarian and security situation on the ground," Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said in a speech to UN delegates in New York.

Armenia calls for UN mission to Nagorno-Karabakh

While speaking at the UN, Azerbaijan's foreign minister said the government would continue with efforts towards "advancing post-conflict peace-building, reintegration, and peaceful coexistence."

The flare up in the region has prompted a strong response from members of the UN Security Council who have condemned the military operation by Azerbaijan and called for peace.

What is Russia's role in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Russia had been a traditional ally of Armenia, but their relations have deteriorated recently. Armenia also held military exercises with the US this month, angering Moscow.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Sunday that his country's current foreign security systems "ineffective," a veiled criticism towards Russia.

"The systems of external security in which Armenia is involved are ineffective when it comes to the protection of our security and Armenia's national interests," Pashinyan said.

Russia had peacekeeping troops deployed in the region under a 2020 cease-fire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, to prevent fresh violence from breaking out.

Moscow was also overlooking the disarmament of ethnic Armenian separatists.

The latest conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh left some 200 people dead, according to Armenia. It has also sparked protests in Armenia against Russia, which had been tasked with ensuring the truce after the 2020 fighting.

Dismissing its role in the conflict, Russia has instead accused Western leadership of "pulling the strings" to undermine Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that, "Unfortunately, the leadership of Armenia from time to time adds fuel to the fire itself."

Red Cross aid reaches Nagorno-Karabakh


mfi/jcg (AFP, Reuters)