Armen Gevorgyan, a member of the Armenian National Assembly delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the key rapporteur on PACE Local and Regional Authorities, on Thursday delivered an address during the debate of the topic progress of the Assembly's monitoring procedure (January-December 2022).
“The Government of Azerbaijan as well as its representatives in this Assembly want us to forget about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They don't want you to use the name of this unrecognized state. They don't want you to speak about the human toll of its aggression during the 44 day-war in 2020. Moreover, Azerbaijan has, since May 2021, occupied the sovereign territories of Armenia, launched a new three-day intensive hostilities last September in the southern Armenia. Since then, they have refused to withdraw from our land and even built fortifications.
Today we are witnessing a grave humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani government has imposed a 46-day siege in Nagorno-Karabakh, depriving its people of their right to live in dignity, freedom of movement, import of food supplies, medicine, and other essential goods.
This is not just a human rights issue, but the manifestation of a state policy of ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan.
I believe Europe must stay focused on Nagorno-Karabakh. In that context, it's quite strange that the decision to dispatch a PACE monitoring mission for fact-finding purposes in the region is not being implemented. What is this? Indifference, or expression of dysfunctionality of our organization?
The Democracy Index by The Economist defines Azerbaijan as an authoritarian state. It has been ruled by the same family for more than 40 years, and over the past 30 years has started three wars against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, killing thousands of people, destroying the culture and religious heritage of the Armenian people. Today, it terrorizes Armenians through the siege of the Lachin corridor. Given the authoritarian and terrorist nature of Azerbaijan, is it possible to imagine Nagorno-Karabakh as part of it?
Azerbaijan has for years manipulated the public opinion in our organization. Something they are now unable to do in the European Parliament, in the United Nations Security Council, or in OSCE. We have to reflect on why this is the case.
I also want to draw this Assembly's attention to the fact that Azerbaijan, since late 2022, has begun a process of abolishing the self-governing status of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. This is a clear violation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government that has to be prevented. It is also time for this Assembly to very seriously consider the non-recognition of credentials of those delegations whose governments are engaged in the transborder use of force or other serious and systematic violations or human rights, be that in their own territory or abroad,” Armen Gevorgyan stated, in particular.