GENEVA (7 August 2023) – A group of UN experts* today expressed alarm over the ongoing blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan, which has led to a dire humanitarian crisis in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The blockade, obstructing the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia for the past seven months, has left the population facing acute shortages of food staples, medication, and hygiene products, impacted the functioning of medical and educational institutions, and placed the lives of the residents – especially children, persons with disabilities, older persons, pregnant women, and the sick – at significant risk.
“The blockade of the Lachin Corridor is a humanitarian emergency that has created severe shortages of essential food staples including sunflower oil, fish, chicken, dairy products, cereal, sugar and baby formula,” the experts said.
They warned that the region was rapidly depleting its medical reserves, and hospitals were struggling to provide care as the operation of ambulances has been hampered due to declining fuel supplies.
The experts urged authorities in Azerbaijan to immediately restore the free and secure movement of persons, vehicles, and cargo moving along the Lachin corridor in both directions, in accordance with the ceasefire agreement of November 2020.
They also called on Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in the region, to protect the corridor under the terms of the ceasefire agreement.
“By lifting the blockade, the authorities can alleviate the suffering of thousands of people in Nagorno-Karabakh and allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population,” the experts said. “It is essential to ensure the safety, dignity, and well-being of all individuals during this critical time,” they said.
"We urge the Government of Azerbaijan to uphold its international obligations to respect and protect human rights, including the right to food, health, education and life. We also emphasise the importance of cooperation and dialogue among all parties involved to find a peaceful and sustainable resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the experts said.
**The experts have already expressed similar concerns to the Governments of Azerbaijan and Russia, in February 2023 (JUA AZE 1/2023 and JUA RUS 1/2023), and the government of Azerbaijan has responded to the concerns raised (AZE 1/2023)
*The experts: Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons; Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities;
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Comprising the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, Special Procedures is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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