At the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) held on Wednesday, the situation in the South Caucasus was discussed and a statement was adopted regarding Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The statement reads as follows:
"The European Union continues to follow with concern the extremely difficult situation arising from the mass exodus of Karabakh Armenians following Azerbaijan’s military operation on 19 and 20 September and the nine months-long blockade on the Lachin corridor. Nearly the entire population of Nagorno-Karabakh, over 100,600 persons, have found refuge in Armenia.
“It is imperative to ensure continuous unimpeded humanitarian support to those who are still in need in Karabakh, as well as to those who have left. The European Commission last week announced an additional package of humanitarian aid of EUR 10.45 million on top of the EUR 20.8 million already provided since 2020.
“Azerbaijan has to ensure the human rights, fundamental freedoms and security of the Karabakh Armenians, including their right to live in their homes in dignity, without intimidation or discrimination, as well as to create the conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons to Nagorno-Karabakh with due respect for their history, culture and human rights. In addition, the cultural heritage and property rights of the local population need to be effectively protected and guaranteed.
“In this regard, we remind that Azerbaijan must comply with the interim measures indicated by the European Court of Human Rights on 22 September, i.e. to refrain from taking any measures which might entail breaches of their obligations under the Convention, notably Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment).
“We took note of [Azerbaijan] President Aliyev's public remarks about willingness to live in peace with Karabakh Armenians and preserve their rights. Azerbaijan has a clear primary responsibility for the fate of the population. Tangible, concrete and transparent guarantees must be provided. As an important confidence-building measure, we expect a comprehensive amnesty for all Karabakh Armenians, including their representatives, and restraint by all sides from harsh rhetoric.
“International access to Karabakh is crucial when it comes to providing much needed assistance and ensuring an independent monitoring of the situation on the ground. The European Union has taken note of the two recent UN visits. We praise the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, who provides support and assistance to the Armenian authorities in handling this massive exodus on its territory, and look forward to the Council of Europe fact-finding mission led by Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović and its subsequent recommendations.
“The EU reiterates its support to the sovereignty, inviolability of borders and territorial integrity of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. We call on Azerbaijan to reaffirm its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity of Armenia, in line with the 1991 Almaty Declaration.
“The EU remains committed to facilitating dialogue between both sides in order to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable peace for the benefit of all populations in the region."