Artsakh Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan issued a statement on June 20 on the International Refugee Day.

The statement runs as follows:

Due to the Azerbaijani policy of ethnic cleansing (genocidal actions) since 1988, and the 1991-1994 Azerbaijani-Karabakh war, hundreds of thousands of Armenians (according to some expert estimates, almost 500,000) have become refugees or internally displaced persons. They were subjected to massacres, repression, homelessness, expropriation and other deprivations solely due to ethnic origin.

Most of them were initially staying in the Republic of Artsakh or Armenia, but during the war some of them were repeatedly targeted by Azerbaijan, suffering additional losses. As a result, many of them emigrated to other countries, and those who remained in the Artsakh Republic gradually integrated into the local society, becoming full citizens of Artsakh.

Unfortunately, neither during the ethnic cleansing, nor during the elimination of its consequences the Armenian (especially from Artsakh) refugees and internally displaced persons have received any serious international humanitarian and legal-political assistance, unlike the Azerbaijani refugees. Moreover, biased international statements are often made which give an artificial advantage to the Azerbaijani refugees in the settlement of the conflict, ignoring the rights and needs of the Armenian refugees. And this is despite the fact that to this day, a number of their rights continue to be violated by Azerbaijan, and many still have acute social needs.

The Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh emphasizes that human rights are universal and any discrimination, including on the basis of legal, political and international status of the territory, is highly condemnable. In the settlement of the conflict, the rights, needs and interests of all the parties must be taken into account without bias, and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity should be held responsible.

The Ombudsman also emphasizes that despite international isolation and neglect, the Republic of Artsakh has done significant work with its own efforts and means to solve the social-economic problems of refugees and internally displaced persons. However, it still remains vital to the improvement of living conditions for some families, and the state must continue its efforts towards the full and proper performance of its obligations.

The rights and needs of refugees and internally displaced persons living in the Republic of Artsakh have been and will be under the attention of the Human Rights Ombudsman, both internally and externally.