March 30
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The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is shocked and horrified that BBC HARDtalk Anchor Stephen Sackur suggested genocide as one of the two "realistic options" facing Artsakh Armenians.

Note that the statement was made during an interview with Artsakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan that aired on January 23, 2023.

Referring to the blockade of Artsakh by the dictatorial regime of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Sackur asked Vardanyan: “You now control a tiny enclave which is suffering from the economic blockade right now, and it seems your only realistic option is either to work out a political deal with Azerbaijan or for the people, the Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh, to decide that this is no longer sustainable and leave the territory. So, which is it to be – a political deal or leave?”

The Lemkin Institute has repeatedly noted in its warnings and statements that forcing people to leave their land under threat of death is a form of genocide.

In its statement, the Lemkin Institute expressed surprise that it had to point out that genocide should never be offered to threatened peoples as a possible "realistic option" going forward.

"By deploying a tactic called DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender), Sackur is mirroring a common strategy of genocidaires. Not once does Sackur note that Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh is a violation of the Ceasefire Agreement that ended the 2020 war, nor does he note that siege tactics against civilians constitute a violation of international law. In fact, he appears to excuse the blockade by referring to a “misunderstanding” between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the terms of the 2020 agreement after Vardanyan rightly points out that the blockade is a clear violation of the aforementioned ceasefire," the statement adds.

According to the statement, one of the most telling moments in the interview is when Sackur interrupts Vardanyan to "clarify" what language should be spoken about Artsakh: “You just referred to your territory as Artsakh, I should make it plain that while you, in your territory, refer to it as Artsakh, the Azerbaijani government, of course, calls it Nagorno-Karabakh, as indeed does the international community, so I just want to be clear about that.”

The Lemkin Institute is shocked that Sackur also insists on using the name "Nagorno-Karabakh."

"Sackur’s “clarification” suggests the illegitimacy of the name Artsakh, which is in fact the historical Armenian name for the region. His insistance also ignores the political undertones of the term Nagorno-Karabakh, or simply Karabakh, a name that is often utilized during torture sessions, in which Azeri soldiers will force, under threat of physical harm, Armenian POWs to repeat terms such as “Karabagh is Azerbaijan.”

According to the statement - Armenians of Artsakh have consistently and consistently expressed their will for independence since 1991, when they voted in a referendum in which an overwhelming majority of 99.89% voted for autonomy. Moreover, they have built democratic institutions and have consistently demanded worldwide recognition as an independent republic.

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