On the International Day for Protection of Children, it is imperative to raise awareness about the challenges and deprivations that 30,000 children of Artsakh have to face today due to the ongoing 6-month-long blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan.
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children in this world have fundamental and inalienable rights. However, for almost six months now, Artsakh children continue to be deprived of their most fundamental and basic rights, such as education, healthcare, development, family reunion, psychological and mental integrity, adequate standard of living, access to basic necessities, leading to adverse consequences for their wellbeing, stable physical and mental development.
Around 550 children have been deprived of their right to return home and reunite with their families in Artsakh due to the blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan, staying devoid of their parental care, love and family environment. In total, more than 1820 children have been unable to see one or both of their parents due to the blockade, resulting in serious psychological suffering of children. The educational process in all institutions of Artsakh has been constantly disrupted due to the deliberate targeting of the vital infrastructure of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, leading to a general decrease of the level of children’s receptivity and attention. The lack of proper socialisation, disrupted education, as well as separation with families and relatives, lead to the increase in visits of children to psychologists and neurologists by 47% during the blockade. Besides, because of the violation of the Artsakh children’s right to freedom of movement by Azerbaijan, the students from Artsakh cannot apply to educational institutions and access the educational opportunities outside Artsakh. Finally, in the absence of timely and sufficient foodstuff supplies to Artsakh, children, including newborns, suffer from malnutrition, deficiency of vitamins and minerals with other ensuing health problems.
Child rights are human rights, and they should be universal, regardless of the child’s origin or ethnicity. Artsakh children should enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other children in this world, which is, unfortunately, not the case today. In the 21st century, when the civilized world pursues sustainable development goals worldwide, Artsakh children are still struggling to have their basic rights protected and opportunities provided. In the face of the existential threats looming over the children of Artsakh, we once again call on the international community in the face of UNICEF to take action, protect the rights of Artsakh children and prevent the threats of the Armenophobic and authoritarian regime of Azerbaijan.
The protection of the carefree present and future of all the children of the world, including the 30,000 children of Artsakh, is our universal responsibility.