This is a statement by EL*C member organization Queer Sista platform from Armenia in regards to the ongoing war in Artsakh. The rapidly growing number of displaced persons in Artsakh is 50.000 as of 3 PM on 27 Sept 2023. EL*C expresses our full support and solidarity to the Armenian people and those affected by Azerbaijan’s military aggression. We call on everyone in the EL*C community to share and participate in Queer Sista platform’s urgent call as detailed below.
URGENT CALL FOR HELP! Genocide alert!
Dear International Community,
We are writing to you with an urgent plea concerning Armenian Genocide happening right now in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
120,000 ethnic Armenians remain under the blockade․ More than 10,000 displaced people are currently staying in the streets or basements without proper food, water, electricity, and with no guarantees of safety. As of 9:30 p.m., September 20, there are at least 200 deaths and more than 400 wounded persons. The number of injured people among the civilian population exceeds 40 persons, among whom 13 are children. There are 10 confirmed civilian deaths, among whom 5 are children. The real numbers are still to come. (Updates on the situation in Artsakh can be found here.) Many people have lost their relatives and cannot find them, there is not a real number estimated.
Azerbaijan is committing Genocide in Artsakh in real-time with the tacit consent of the international community. This situation unequivocally meets the criteria for genocide under all intentional standards, as recognized by the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention.
The humanitarian catastrophe intensified significantly following a devastating explosion on September 25 at a gasoline warehouse near the Stepanakert Askera highway. At least 20 people have been killed and almost 300 injured in a powerful explosion as thousands of ethnic Armenians streamed out of the breakaway territory after the Azerbaijani military reclaimed full control of it in a lightning offensive last week.
We call to reject integration of Artsakh into Azerbaijan because it will lead to genocide. Ethnic cleansing of Artsakh contributes to the downfall of the Republic of Armenia and Armenian democracy. On September 20, at around 10:50 p.m., Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire at the Armenian combat outposts near Sotk, Gegharkunik Province, yet again proving Azerbaijan’s genocidal intentions not only in Artsakh but also in the Republic of Armenia.
This is not a catastrophe that can be delayed or ignored. This is ethnic cleansing and genocide, which Azerbaijani carried out in broad daylight․ We implore you to stand with us in this moment of urgent need.
We urgently request that you assess the situation in Artsakh and mobilize your resources, knowledge, and networks to provide immediate assistance. Here are steps that we urge you to take:
- Donate to organizations working to help to respond the immediate needs of displaced people from Artsakh (accommodation, food, hygiene products etc.), such as:
- Disseminate information in your community, among your friends and decision-makers of your country.
- Call UN to ensure airlift massive emergency humanitarian aid directly into Artsakh, including medical supplies, fuel, food and hygiene products.
- Urge your governments to oppress Azerbaijan to stop military actions and maintain ceasefire in the whole territory of Artsakh.
- Call the authorities to impose political and economic sanctions against Azerbaijan and Aliyev. EU’s purchase of gas from Azerbaijan finances this genocide. EU should act, impose sanctions, including stopping the imports of gas (the gas imported from Azerbaijan to EU has hidden ties to the Russian gas).
- Advocate for security guarantees for the lives and dignity of Armenian population in Artsakh.
- Enforce the ICJ’s rulings to ensure the Lachin Corridor functions as a safe humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of Armenian population of Artsakh from blockaded territories to Armenia. Azerbaijan should ensure people’s dignity and safety are not threatened. Although some people have been evacuated in the last few days, most of them have been restricted to access of free movement along the Lachin Corridor and/or have been experiencing humiliating and discriminatory attitude.
- Demand to significantly strengthen the EU civilian mission and UN peacekeeping mission to monitor further the entire Armenia-Azerbaijan border and line of contact to stabilize the situation and identify possible Azerbaijan attacks on Armenian territory.
As you read, the situation in Artsakh is reaching catastrophic proportions at an alarming rate. Our sole purpose in reaching out to you is to emphasize the gravity of this crisis and implore you to take immediate action. Lives are hanging by a thread, and we firmly believe that the International Community’s response to the situation can be a glimmer of hope in these darkest times.
Context of the humanitarian catastrophe in Artsakh: On December 12, 2022, Azerbaijan closed the Lachin Corridor (the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia), leaving 120,000 ethnic Armenian residents in Artsakh without access to essential goods and services, including life-saving medication and health care. Interviews with health workers and residents in the region revealed the blockade’s particularly harsh impact on at-risk groups, including women, children, elderly people, and people with disabilities. During this period, Azerbaijan did not even allow humanitarian goods to enter Artsakh, putting the population in a desperate situation. Cases of death from starvation, loss of pregnancy due to malnutrition, and deaths due to lack of medication have been registered.
On September 19, Azerbaijan launched a major new offensive against the peaceful civilian population of Artsakh by targeting civilian infrastructure in the residential areas of the capital Stepanakert, in towns and villages throughout the whole territory.
Also please take into consideration that the information is being constantly updated and some of it, especially the numbers of those affected, may not be relevant when you are reading the statement.
For further discussions or to initiate rapid response efforts, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lives are hanging in the balance, and every moment counts. Your support can be a lifeline for those with nowhere else to turn. Thank you for your immediate attention to this dire situation.
Queer Sista Platform