The Human Rights Council in Geneva hosted a significant side event on 14 November 2023 titled “Artsakh’s Road to Recovery: Holding Azerbaijan Accountable,” organized by the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) in conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process for Azerbaijan.
The event brought together a diverse audience, including experts, state delegations, stakeholders, and advocates, to address human rights violations and genocidal acts committed by Azerbaijan against Armenians, Artsakh, and Armenia in the recent months that resulted in the forcible displacement of the more than 100,000 indigenous population of Artsakh, a humanitarian crisis, and the detention of Artsakh’s leadership. The discussion aimed to explore avenues for accountability and responsibility for actions taken by Azerbaijan.
The distinguished panel of speakers played a pivotal role in providing insights and perspectives on the human rights situation:
– Mr. Artak Beglaryan: The former State Minister and Ombudsman of Artsakh shared a poignant personal experience of displacement and agony highlighting the hardships experienced by Artsakh people as a result of wars and months of blockade and starvation. He emphasized the importance of holding Azerbaijan accountable for the heinous and intentional crimes committed by Azerbaijan and the importance to restore the rights of indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh.
– Prof. Luis Gabriel Moreno Ocampo: The former prosecutor of the International Criminal Courtargued that Azerbaijan’s acts towards Armenians meet the requirements of Article 2A, 2B, 2C of Genocide convention and that Azerbaijan authorities intentionally failed to prevent a genocide which is one of the main state responsibilities under the Genocide Treaty. He also criticized the international community for failing to prevent the genocide and constantly denying it.
– Ms. Irene Victoria Massimino: The co-founder and Legal Affairs Director of Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention brought attention to the various alerts and early warning reports issued by the Lemkin Institute, clearly indicating the progression through the 10 stages of genocide. Ms. Massimino emphasized the need to accurately label the crimes committed by Azerbaijan, using their precise and legally recognized names. In her concluding remarks, she underscored the significance of accountability and justice, asserting that true peace is unattainable without accountability in addressing such atrocities.
– Dr. Ani Ghazaryan-Drissi: The program executive for faith and order at the World Council of Churches highlighted the advocacy and awareness initiatives undertaken by the WCC. She emphasized the organization’s efforts to bring attention to the ongoing tragedies in Artsakh and its role in conflict resolution through meaningful dialogue. Dr. Ghazaryan-Drissi specifically addressed the WCC’s focus on safeguarding cultural heritage, preserving Christian civilization, and advocating for the release of Artsakh leadership and other hostages/detainees illegally kept by Azerbaijan.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Kevork Hagopgian, ALC’s Board Member and ARS’s Representative to the Human Rights Council.
The event successfully fostered a meaningful dialogue, allowing attendees to gain valuable insights into the pressing human rights violations committed by Azerbaijan. The discussions contributed to ongoing efforts to address violations, promoting justice and accountability.
The ARS remains committed to its mission of relief, justice, and accountability, as demonstrated through this impactful side event at the Human Rights Council.
The event’s success is a testament to the dedication of the organizers, panelists, and attendees in addressing critical issues and working towards a path of recovery for Artsakh.