No:603/22, Commentary on the statement of Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, regarding the situation around Lachin road

The statement of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatović of December 22 regarding the situation around the Lachin road is biased and does not reflect the realities on the ground. The Commissioner again seems to be applying double standards and a selective approach.


Against the backdrop of Dunja Mijatović’s lack of attention to the miserable humanitarian and human rights situation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis during the former conflict, as well as the grave violations of humanitarian law against Azerbaijan after the 2020 war, the statement on the rights of Armenian residents living in Karabakh is an example of bias on these issues. At the same time, Mijatović’ disregards the war crimes committed by Armenia during the 44-day war in clear violation of international humanitarian law, as well as the attacks against the civilian population in cities far outside the conflict zone, the landmine threat that resulted in 276 Azerbaijanis becoming landmine victims after the war, and the obstacles it created in the way of the return of internally displaced persons to their homes. In this regard, the mentioned statement of the commissioner is disingenuous to say the least.


At the same time, it is hard to understand a biased position of Mijatović to the peaceful protests on the Lachin road with the demand to prevent the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan's natural resources, the transportation of these resources from Azerbaijan to Armenia and the abuse of the Lachin road, the use of which is intended only for humanitarian purposes.


In addition, we would like to remind the Commissioner that the concept of “population of Nagorno-Karabakh” mentioned in his statement does not exist. The Azerbaijani population of the former “Nagorno-Karabakh” was expelled from these territories as a result of Armenia’s infamous ethnic cleansing policy, and the Armenian residents currently living in the territories of temporary deployment of Russian peacekeepers do not represent all segments of the population.


As mentioned in the statements issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the last few days, Mijatović’s repeated claims on the alleged closure of the Lachin road, and the creation of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the region are equally unfounded. There are no barriers to the provision of goods or performing of essential medical services for the use of local residents. The fact is that a number of vehicles, including the convoys of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as the Armenian emergency medical vehicles passed through the road without any obstructions. The government of Azerbaijan has also repeatedly stated that it is ready to promptly provide all humanitarian needs that Armenian residents may have.


Consequently, the independence and impartiality of the work of the Commissioner of the Council of Europe is once again under question. Moreover, the Commissioner’s statement does not contribute to peace in the region.


Once again, we call on the Commissioner to be impartial as required by her mandate, and to refrain from actions and statements that would taint the reputation of the Council of Europe.

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