Armenia requests UN mission to oversee human rights in Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian solidier the Aghdam-Khankendi border in Aghdam, Azerbaijan.


 Sept 24, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

Armenia called on Saturday for the immediate deployment of a UN mission to monitor human rights and security in Nagorno-Karabakh amid signs that aid may be arriving in the breakaway region under a fragile ceasefire.

On Wednesday, Azerbaijan declared a ceasefire after forcing Armenian separatist forces to accept the full return of Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave, to Azeri control. Armenians there express concerns about potential persecution if they remain.

Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, has been under the control of a breakaway administration since a war in the early 1990s during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has promised to protect the rights of Armenians but maintains that they are free to leave if they prefer.

“The international community should undertake all the efforts for an immediate deployment of an interagency mission by the UN to Nagorno-Karabakh with the aim to monitor and assess the human rights, humanitarian, and security situation on the ground,” Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said in a speech to the United Nations, according to a transcript.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, also addressing the UN, stated that his country would continue its efforts toward “advancing post-conflict peace-building, reintegration, and peaceful coexistence.”

Armenia, traditionally backed by Russia, lost a war to Azerbaijan in 2020, with Turkey supporting Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia has made preparations to accommodate tens of thousands of Armenians from the region, including establishing hotels near the border, though Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has expressed the desire for them to remain in their homes unless it becomes absolutely necessary to leave.

Security Council members have called for peace in the region, and several of Armenia’s Western allies have condemned the Azeri military operation.

As thousands of Karabakh Armenians remain without food, an International Committee of the Red Cross aid convoy headed toward Karabakh on Saturday, marking the first such convoy since Baku's offensive.

Russia announced it had delivered more than 50 tonnes of food and other aid to Karabakh.

With 2,000 "peacekeepers" stationed in the region, Russia also reported that, under the terms of the ceasefire, six armored vehicles, over 800 small arms, anti-tank weapons, portable air defense systems, and 22,000 rounds of ammunition had been turned over by Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has engaged in urgent talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan, stated on social media, “The United States will continue its steadfast support for Armenia and its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”