April 14
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A recent video report that was made in a kindergarten in Azerbaijan has caused quite a stir.

In the report, the teacher asks the children, “Who is your enemy?” and they respond, “Armenians.”

So it was decided to find out what the respective situation is in the kindergartens of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic/NKR). And as a result, most of the Karabakh children that were asked firmly stated that they have no enemies—except for some cartoon characters.

In this connection, Armenian asked Artsakh Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Ruben Melikyan to comment on such “upbringing” of Azerbaijani kids.

“The noted video [from a kindergarten in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku] has become the property of a wide community, within the framework of our fact-finding work,” Melikyan noted, in particular. “We decided to find out the [relevant] situation in our preschool institutions. (…) [and] we recorded with satisfaction that the situation is radically different at us. Subsequently, we decided that it would be right to make a [respective] video.”

In the Artsakh ombudsman’s words, this video of theirs has three main objectives.

“First, let’s not forget that the message is directed to our public,” he stressed. “The brutalities that the Azerbaijani side carried out in April 2016, the Armenophobia that has a total nature in Azerbaijan, can objectively generate a response reaction among a part of the public, so that we carry out propaganda in the same way (…). [But] our approach is that hatred is not only non-effective, but, also, it may have the opposite effect, whereas such propaganda—the reverse effect. For this reason, the message [in this video] was addressed to the Armenian public. And I record with satisfaction that, after the video was released, discourse has been launched at various levels, and we are content with those discussions. (…). Our approach is that we are stronger, and we don’t link patriotism to hatred.”

The second message in this video was addressed to the Azerbaijani public. “The Azerbaijani society is being poisoned not solely by Armenophobia propaganda, but it has clear manifestations,” said the NKR human rights defender. “In particular, [Azerbaijani] propagandists claim that everyone in Armenia is Fascists, and they have extreme hatred towards Azerbaijanis. Let me note that this propaganda in Azerbaijan is implemented at state level. (…). We have tried to show that those claims don’t correspond to reality, and [that] carrying out propaganda—starting from kindergarten—is a road leading to nowhere. The video has been quite widely disseminated in Azerbaijan, too.”

The third—and the most important—is the message to international community. “The situation in Azerbaijan doesn’t get adequate response [by the international community],” Ruben Melikyan said, in particular. In his words, one of the reasons is the lack of respective information—and not just in terms of content. “Information should be provided through modern media,” he added. “Ultimately, the international community must grasp the situation in Azerbaijan in full depth. Large-scale propaganda was carried out in Azerbaijan for many years. As a result, a part of [Azerbaijani] society is infected with Armenophobia. I believe the first step on the road to resolving this problem shall become the high level of awareness of the situation by international community; first of all, by human rights organizations.”

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