Azerbaijan Blocks Humanitarian Transport To and From Lachin Corridor

By Asbarez | Friday, 16 June 2023

Azerbaijan banned all humanitarian transportation to and from the Lachin Corridor, authorities reported on Thursday.

The Artsakh Information Center reported that Azerbaijani forces advanced their position further unto the Hakari Bridge and barred vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Russian peacekeeping contingent from entering or leaving the Lachin Corridor.

“In particular, 25 patients and their family members were being transported by the International Committee of the Red Cross from Artsakh to Armenia, but the further movement of the vehicles was banned in the illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint functioning in the Kashatagh (Lachin) corridor, forcing them to return to Stepanakert,” the Artsakh Info Center said in a statement.

In addition, transport of humanitarian supplies by Russian peacekeeping forces was suspended.

The Artsakh Information Center said that the illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint itself in Lachin Corridor poses grave danger and obstacles for ensuring free movement between Artsakh and Armenia.

“Today’s incident once again confirms the existence of these dangers and obstacles, by additionally threatening the highly limited movement of people and goods for essential humanitarian needs of the people of Artsakh, even by the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers,” said the statement.

“The authorities of Artsakh reiterate their position that movement along the Lachin Corridor, as mandated by the November 9, 2020 agreement, must immediately and unconditionally be ensured without any Azerbaijan intervention,” the Artsakh authorities said, adding that the February order by the International Court of Justice, calling for the unimpeded movement along the corridor must be implemented.

“The complete closure of the Lachin Corridor, already being used in a limited capacity and exclusively for humanitarian purposes due to the illegal blockade of Artsakh that has been ongoing for more than six months, is another practical demonstration of Azerbaijan’s flagrant violation of its international obligations, disregard for the fundamental norms of international law, including the legally binding Order of the International Court of Justice,” the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“In fact, the illegally established checkpoint in the Lachin Corridor is used by Azerbaijan purely as a means to continue its policy of ethnic cleansing against the people of Artsakh,” the foreign ministry warned.

“The Azerbaijani authorities have chosen to resort to new provocations aimed at tightening the blockade and isolating the people of Artsakh from the outside world, and depriving them of the possibility of even limited movement and delivery of humanitarian supplies with the support of the ICRC and Russian peacekeepers,” explained the Artsakh Foreign Ministry.

The statement argued that Azerbaijan is being permitted to continue its aggression because of the absence of decisive measures by the international community against Baku’s policy of ethnic cleansing in Artsakh.

“To avoid new atrocities and crimes against the people of Artsakh, such illegal and aggressive actions of Azerbaijan must receive an adequate political assessment and condemnation from the international community and, above all, the parties involved in the process,” the Artsakh foreign ministry said, adding that members of the international community have a responsibility to prevent such human rights violations.

We once again emphasize that all members of the international community have a responsibility to prevent massive violations of human rights, including ethnic cleansing and genocide.

A similar warning was issued by Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender’s office, which said that the limited access to the Lachin Corridor is being used by the Azerbaijani authorities “to create unbearable living conditions, terrorize, intimidate and exert psychological pressure on the peaceful population of Artsakh,” as part of Baku’s systematic policy of ethnic cleansing against Artsakh.