A humanitarian crisis has been ongoing in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) since December 12, 2022. How long can 120,000 human beings last without gas, electricity, food and medicine in freezing temperatures? Winters are harsh in the Caucasus. Stepanakert, the most populated city of Artsakh is in these mountains at 813 meters above sea level.
The soldiers of the dictatorship of Ilham Aliyev (president of Azerbaijan) block the Lachin corridor: it is the only road leading to Artsakh.
This humanitarian disaster has now continued for 57 days in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, which rightly attracts all international attention. Like Ukraine, Artsakh is a democracy oppressed by a dictatorial and expansionist regime: the dictator Ilham Aliyev starves the population of Karabakh, just as he deprives his people of fundamental rights (see ranking according to Reporter Without Borders). Like the Ukrainian people, the Armenian people of Artsakh survive for their freedom despite the tyranny of a dictatorship that simply wants to wipe them off the map. Only international mobilization could reverse the situation in the face of the power of a hydrocarbon-rich corrupt government, which even goes so far as to resell Russian gas and oil to the European Union (see Le canard enchainé).
By starving the 120,000 inhabitants of Artsakh (including 30,000 children deprived of education, for lack of power to heat the schools), and by blocking their only way of survival, Aliyev’s Azerbaijan wishes to put an end to the thousand-year-old presence of the Armenians . This region populated by Armenians, offered to Azerbaijan by Stalin in 1921 during the Soviet regime, is the victim of an ethnic cleansing that has been going on for more than a century.
To fully understand this genocidal logic, let us recall the main pogroms committed by the Azeris against the Armenian population:
- 1905-1907 – Armenian-Tatar massacres: 500 dead
- September 1918 – Days of September: 30,000 dead
- July 1919 to July 1920 – Uprisings in Kars and Sharur: 10,000 dead
- December 24-25, 1919 – Agulis massacres: 1,400 dead
- June 1919 – Khaibalikend massacre: 700 dead
- March 1920 – Shushi massacres: 20,000 dead
- February 1988 – Sumgaït pogrom: 200 dead
- November 1988 – Kirovabad pogrom: 130 dead
- January 1990 – Baku pogrom: 90 dead
- April 1992 – Maragha massacres: 100 dead
Let us also recall the numerous war crimes committed by Azerbaijan government since 2020: beheadings, mutilations, rape of female soldiers, executions of unarmed soldiers, detention and torture of prisoners of war, use of prohibited weapons, etc.
This blockade is an act of genocide, already reported by specialized NGOs (such as the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention).
Some figures updated daily by the Artsakh Information Center, a situation that is reminiscent of the COVID confinement that we have experienced but worse of course (no food or heating):
- 6 children are in the neonatology and intensive care units.
- 9 adult patients, including 4 in extremely serious condition, are hospitalized in intensive care.
- To date, 204 babies have been born under blockade.
- Due to the suspension of planned surgical interventions in all medical institutions under the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Artsakh, nearly 580 citizens are deprived of the possibility of surgical intervention that their state of health requires.
- To date, through the International Committee of the Red Cross, a total of 70 patients have been transferred to the Republic of Armenia to receive appropriate care.
- To date, nearly 5,100 people have lost their jobs, and therefore their sole source of income, due to the difficult economic situation.
More than 22,400 tons of necessities would have been delivered to Artsakh had it not been for the blockade. Only a very small part was delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Russian peacekeeping contingent.