Armenian CSOs request urgent OHCHR mission to Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia

April 3, 2023

With the initiative of the Democracy Development Foundation (DDF), about 20 civil society organizations of Armenia submitted a joint letter to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights Volker Türk, calling on the Commissioner’s office to take immediate measures regarding the human rights emergency in Nagorno Karabakh.

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are writing to bring your attention and request your urgent intervention in what we believe to be a pressing human rights emergency in Nagorno-Karabakh in the face of a growing risk of military escalation, leading to possible crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.  We request that you consider an urgent OHCHR mission to Nagorno-Karabakh as well as Lachin corridor, the only lifeline that connects Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and the world with a view to monitor rights to life, food, health, peace, freedom of movement as well as a range of other rights. We also believe it would be extremely important to launch a longer-term monitoring mission along the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, given how the rights of local communities in Armenia have been impacted following the September 2022 attack of Azerbaijan against Armenia proper, which resulted in occupation of certain bordering territories of Armenia”, states the letter.

Joint letter is signed by Democracy Development Foundation, International Service for Human Rights, “Association of Women with University Education” Social Organization, “For Equal Rights” NGO, Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Coalition of Domestic Violence Support Centers, Disability Rights Agenda NGO, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor NGO, Journalists Club Asparez NGO, Law Development and Protection Foundation, Peace Dialogue NGO, Protection of Rights without Borders NGO, Public Journalism Club NGO, Regional Centre for Democracy and Security, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center NGO, Union of Informed Citizens NGO, Women Resource Center NGO and Women’s Support Center NGO.

We strongly believe that consistent international attention and a physical presence on the ground are crucial to stabilizing the situation and preventing human rights atrocities and possible ethnic cleansing, and the High Commissioner should play a leading role here. Without proper attention and intervention, there is a risk of discrediting human rights mechanisms designed to prevent serious human rights abuses.  

Our recommendations are publicly condemn the blockade of the Lachin corridor, including during relevant sessions of the Human Rights Council, request and organize an urgent OHCHR mission to Nagorno-Karabakh as well as Lachin corridor to monitor the rights to life, food, health, peace, freedom of movement, and other rights and publish the findings of this mission as well as brief States, such as at an inter-sessional meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, request and deploy a longer-term monitoring OHCHR mission along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan as a preventive measure against the further use of force and human rights abuses. In contrast with the EUMA, such a mission would have an explicit human rights mandate and provide independent public reporting on the human rights situation on the ground and would seek to have a mandate also in Azerbaijan”, says the letter.