It is unfortunate to see that these days the national human rights defender institution of Azerbaijan, in the face of Sabina Aliyeva, is busy with justifying the criminal actions of Azerbaijan that have led to humanitarian crisis in Artsakh and innocent deaths, instead of staying committed to the genuine mission of human rights protection and condemnation of mass violations, Human Rights Ombudsman of the Artsakh Republic Gegham Stepanyan wrote.
”Following the logic of the Azerbaijani government propaganda machine, Sabina Aliyeva intentionally spreads disinformation and makes unfounded claims about the alleged “transfer of weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment, including mines, fuel, and troops” from Armenia to Artsakh without providing solid facts. Artsakh side presented numerous and well-documented proofs of the terrorist attack by a group of at least 15 Azerbaijani servicemen on the police car of the Republic of Artsakh that was heading towards the destination of its scheduled shift change, where Azerbaijani armed forces should not be present under the Tripartite Statement of November 9, 2020.
The “transportation of arms” argument is another blatant lie made up by the government of Azerbaijan and instrumentalised by the Commissioner for Human Rights of Azerbaijan to cover the recent terrorist act of the Azerbaijani ambush group against the policemen of Artsakh in broad daylight and ongoing blockade of Artsakh. Such lies serve as a pretext to prepare the ground for new offensives in the future.
The operation of the law enforcement bodies and security forces in Artsakh is perfectly in line with international law and international norms, as it is based on the internationally recognised right to self-defense. Moreover, the repeated provocations of Azerbaijan, resulting in such terrorist acts as the attack of the Azerbaijani ambush group on the policemen of Artsakh on March 5, 2023, reaffirm yet again the critical necessity of preserving and further strengthening the security capabilities of Artsakh to ensure the protection and safety of its people, facing existential threats from Azerbaijan on a daily basis. Besides, Azerbaijan has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic of Artsakh and demand the dissolution of its state institutions, such as the Police and the Artsakh defence forces.
It is ridiculous to see that the side, which has systematically, intentionally and repeatedly violated all the provisions of the Tripartite Statement of November 9, 2020 since the end of the 2020 war, now preaches to the Armenian side to respect it. By calling to install a checkpoint in the Lachin corridor, the Commissioner for Human Rights of Azerbaijan is openly calling and encouraging its country to disregard Azerbaijan’s international obligations and violate Point 6 of the Tripartite Statement, which reads as follows: “The Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee safe movement of citizens, vehicles, and cargo in both directions along the Lachin corridor.”
Against this backdrop, the Commissioner for Human Rights of Azerbaijan has turned a blind eye on the violations of the Tripartite Statement that took place after the end of the 2020 war, resulting in the military aggression and occupation of Ktsaberd and Hin Tagher, Karaglukh and Parukh, the deliberate killing of 21 people, including 3 civilians, the capture of Artsakh citizens and more than 100 killing attempts carried out by the Azerbaijani military forces. Paradoxically, the voice of the Azerbaijani human rights defender institution was not heard when 55-year-old Aram Tepnants, a civilian conducting seasonal agricultural work on his tractor, was shot dead by an Azerbaijani sniper in his own pomegranate garden in Martakert on October 9, 2021. The voice of Sabina Aliyeva was not heard either when a group of civilian workers of Artsakh was attacked by an Azerbaijani serviceman while conducting repair work of the water pipe in the Shushi area on November 8, 2021, resulting in the death of 22-year-old Martik Yeremyan from a gunshot to his head and leaving the other three wounded. Finally, nor did Sabina Aliyeva publically express her human rights concerns when 65-year-old Seyran Sargsyan was captured and deliberately murdered by the Azerbaijani armed forces while carrying out agricultural work near the Chartar community of Martuni region on December 3, 2021.
As is customary for the Azerbaijan side, Sabina Aliyeva has not uttered a single word about the ongoing three-month-long illegal blockade of 120,000 Artsakh people, including 30,000 children, orchestrated by the Azerbaijani government and implemented by the so-called “eco-activists”, many of whom proved to be active or former representatives of Azerbaijan’s special services. Despite the calls to unblock the road of life of Artsakh made by a number of reputable international intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, state and non-state actors, such as the European Parliament, the ECHR, the ICJ, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Freedom House, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, the person calling herself “the Commissioner for Human Rights” continues to shamelessly and blatantly deny the reality of the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh.
By referring to Artsakh as “Karabakh economic region” and having no courage to call it by its real name, the Human rights commissioner of Azerbaijan ignores the very existence Nagorno-Karabakh, which is recognised even by the supreme world judiciary, the International Court of Justice of the United Nations. This deliberate approach of negating the fundamental human rights of native Armenians of Artsakh by Sabina Aliyeva yet again proves that the so-called “reintegration” of Artsakh into Azerbaijan will directly pave the way to ethnic cleansing and genocide.
After all, by making such ridiculous and politicised statements, Sabina Aliyeva discredits the institute of the human rights defender and its true purpose. Instead of being an impartial and just institution, she uses her mandate to serve the interests of the Azerbaijani state propaganda machine, eventually becoming another instrument in the toolkit of the authoritarian regime of Aliyev.
Thus, instead of wasting the resources of the Commissioner for Human Rights’ mandate on spreading false information about Artsakh, I encourage Sabina Aliyeva to look closer into the deplorable situation of human rights in Azerbaijan, and take care of the proper implementation of the numerous ECHR and ICJ decisions and measures ascribed to Azerbaijan on this matter.
I also draw the attention of international organizations to the activities of the Commissioner for Human Rights of Azerbaijan, which is far from protecting human rights and, on the contrary, is used to justify violations of people’s fundamental rights”,- he wrote.