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Statement on the Humanitarian Crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh

Equality Now would like to express mounting concern over the escalating humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh forces agreed with Azerbaijan’s demand to disarm after 24 hours of military confrontation. Since December 2022, the main road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and the outside world – called the Lachin Corridor – has been blocked by Azerbaijan. Access to essential humanitarian aid, medical care, fuel, food, and other basic necessities remains severely constrained, with increasingly dire consequences for the local people. 

Women and children are being especially impacted by worsening food insecurity and a lack of access to maternal and newborn health care due to the blockade. There are warnings of an impending famine and reports that the rate of pregnant women miscarrying has almost tripled due to malnutrition. 

The International Court of Justice was ordered to reopen the Lachin Corridor to allow people, food, and medicine to move through. The EU asked Azerbaijan to “guarantee safety and freedom of movement along the Lachin Corridor imminently and not to permit the crisis to escalate further.” The EU also called for the ICRC to be allowed to resume its activities, such as medical evacuations and aid deliveries. However, the blockade still exists, risking 120,000 Armenians’ lives by starvation

International researchers, citing the UN Genocide Convention,  concluded that there’s a threat of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing targeting the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. Urgent international action is needed to prevent a further humanitarian crisis.  

We urgently appeal to the international community to:

  • Prioritize immediate relief efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh. This includes facilitating the unobstructed delivery of humanitarian aid and ensuring the rights of ethnic Armenians, including women and children, are safeguarded. 
  • Bring a gendered lens to their analysis of the conflict and actively promote women’s engagement in finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis.