September 26, 2023
Senator Paul Gavan condemns ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has condemned in the strongest terms the forced departure of tens of thousands of Armenians from the Nagorno Karabakh region.

Senator Gavan, who has authored two reports on the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said:

“What we are witnessing now is the ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. This follows an aggressive military operation from Azerbaijan forces on the 19th September which resulted in hundreds of casualties.

“I have previously reported on the accompanying nine-month blockade of the region following the forced closure of the Lachin Corridor which was the only open route connecting Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia.

“As a result of that blockade, which even extended to the International Committee for the Red Cross, the population was enduring extreme hardship with severe shortages of food and medicines. When the blockade did not succeed in driving the local population out, the Azerbaijan army resorted to direct military attack.

“As part of my report for PACE, I requested access through the Lachin corridor earlier this summer to see for myself the effect of the blockade. This request was denied by Azerbaijan authorities who continued to insist there was no blockade whilst refusing access to all human rights, EU and UN groups who made similar requests.

“The most recent reports of mass evacuation of citizens also includes credible reports of the blowing up of residential buildings and the deliberate explosion of a gasoline tank in Stepanakert, the capital city of the region.

“Meanwhile, the western world appears to be willing to take no action in response to these acts of military aggression and ethnic cleansing. At the very least there should be an urgent call for sanctions against the regime of Ilham Aliyev. We must insist on respect for the rule of applicable international law, paying full respect to the human rights of everyone living in the region.”

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