June 23, 2023
Urgent action needed to end ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor – Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan has delivered a key report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), calling for urgent action to tackle the ongoing blockade by Azerbaijan of the Lachin Corridor.

The corridor is the only route connecting the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

Speaking to the Assembly, Senator Gavan said:

“The Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh have had their only access route to Armenia and the rest of the world cut off via a blockade since December 12th, and have also had their gas and electricity supply cut off by the government of Azerbaijan.”

“In addition, there is constant hate speech coming from senior Azerbaijani politicians, including a declaration that the Armenians are ‘a cancerous tumour on the body politic of Europe’. These kind of statements are entirely unacceptable and must end.

“There is no small irony in the fact that whilst Azerbaijan deny that there is any blockade of the Lachin Corridor, they refused to allow me to travel there to access the corridor. In fact they have refused entry to everyone; including the Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Refugee Council and UNESCO.”

At the end of an urgent debate on Senator Gavan’s report on ‘Ensuring free and safe access through the Lachin Corridor’, the PACE expressed its extreme concern over events and called on Azerbaijan to allow an urgent fact finding mission to the region.

The Assembly also passed a recommendation from Senator Gavan requiring the Council’s Committee of Ministers to respond to the report.

Senator Gavan concluded:

“The only conclusion I could reach was that the Azerbaijan government were intent on forcing the 100,000 Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to permanently leave their homeland of Nagorno-Karabakh – a policy that is an affront to every value of the Assembly.”

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