Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan has called on the Council of Europe to act decisively against the cruel military actions by the Azerbaijan regime last month in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has forced over 100,000 Armenians to flee their homes and killed hundreds of men, women, and children.
On behalf of the United European Left group Senator Gavan responded to a report on the issue during the October session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Speaking at the debate, Senator Gavan said:
“On the 16th June last, when I was rapporteur for a report on ensuring free and safe access through the Lachin corridor, I said I had come to the conclusion that the intention of Azerbaijan was to force the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to leave.
“It gives me absolutely no pleasure to say that recent events have proven this to be the case.
“This [updated] report is clear in its strong condemnation of Azerbaijan for its wholly unwarranted military attacks on the besieged Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Azerbaijan delegates have denied ethnic cleansing but this is the word of a regime who consistently tells these people that there is no such place as Nagorno-Karabakh.
“This is a regime that has been condemned by numerous human rights bodies for how it treats its own population.
“According to Amnesty International, Freedoms of expression, assembly and association remain severely restricted as authorities carry out arbitrary arrests and politically motivated prosecutions, crush peaceful protests and hinder the work of independent organisations and media outlets.
“The Council of Europe must now reject the credentials of Azerbaijan and the international community must work to ensure that should the Armenian population wish to return to their home they must be provided with international protection.
In his concluding remarks Senator Gavan said:
“If Europe continues to turn a blind eye to the horrific actions against the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh, if member states and the committee of ministers continue to choose silence and inaction, they are giving a green light for copycat actions throughout every other area of Europe subject to similar disputes.
“If this assembly is to retain credibility, we must finally hold the Aliyev regime to account.”