The indigenous Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) face ethnic cleansing and genocide by Azerbaijan and its dictatorial regime led by Aliyev. Azerbaijan once again violated the 2020 ceasefire agreement, in an all-out offensive strike against Artsakh. Presently, Azeri forces have surrounded tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians holding them hostage, depriving them of food, electricity, and gas. This most recent effort by Azerbaijan to ethnically cleanse the region of Armenians, resulted in the targeted shelling of homes, schools, and hospitals where at least 12 children were murdered alongside countless innocent civilians. These acts were preceded by Aliyev proclaiming that “our determination, strength, and mighty fist crushed [Armenian] skulls.” More recently, Aliyev stated “[Armenians] probably won’t be able to breathe there again. The job is done.” Contrary to a binding order by the International Court of Justice, Azerbaijan has refused to ensure the unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles, and cargo along the only corridor connecting Artsakh with Armenia. The reasoning behind Aliyev’s chokehold on the region is self-evident.
Around the country, Armenian-Americans have taken to peaceful protest to bring awareness of the ongoing atrocities to the citizens and government of the United States. Shamefully, the US government has failed to respond adequately to the atrocities being committed by the Azerbaijani regime. Despite the Biden Administration’s awareness of the unfolding humanitarian disaster, the President met with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister yesterday, tacitly signaling to the Aliyev regime that it would face no consequences.
As the self-proclaimed defender of the free world, the Biden Administration must fervently combat Azerbaijan’s mission to ethnically cleanse the ancient homeland of the Armenian people. President Biden has also committed to uphold the territorial sovereignty of all nations, yet the Armenian people have seen little of that commitment as Azerbaijan continues to occupy the internationally recognized sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. Recently, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Yuri Kim said, “the United States will not countenance any action or effort… to ethnically cleanse or commit other atrocities against the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. The current humanitarian situation is not acceptable.” No tenable action has been taken in furtherance of this claim. The United States must put these words into action and lead the international community to impose stringent and lasting sanctions against Azerbaijan and the Aliyev regime.
The safety of all Artsakh Armenians is paramount. As Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide reported on September 22, 2023, “[Azeri] Military action can only contribute to escalate what is already a tense situation and to put the civilian population in the area at risk of violence, including risk of Genocide and related atrocity crimes.”
We call upon the United States government to:
- Implement international protectorate status for the Republic of Artsakh.
- Immediately dispatch international monitors to Artsakh, the Lachin Corridor, and border positions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- Ensure the safe return of displaced Artsakh Armenians.
- Provide direct humanitarian assistance to the Republic of Artsakh and its citizens.
- Ensure safe/uninterrupted passage between Artsakh and Armenia.
- Cease all forms of aid and assistance to Azerbaijan.
- Sanction Azerbaijani officials responsible for facilitating and/or committing war crimes and genocidal acts.
- Guarantee the self-determination of indigenous Armenians in the region and the territorial sovereignty of Artsakh and Armenia.
The frequently espoused American values and fundamental principles should not remain empty rhetoric. It is imperative for the United States to marshal the free world to safeguard the people of Artsakh and Armenia.
Armenian Council of America