International Recognition of Artsakh

International Recognition of Artsakh

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Emily DerAvanessian started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and

The innocent men, women, and children of Artsakh are begging for your help and attention. They need us to push the international community to recognize Artsakh as a sovereign state to cease the war crimes being committed by Azerbaijan, aimed towards the civilians of Artsakh and Armenia. Please help stop these crimes against humanity immediately before it is too late!


To understand the severity of the issue at hand and why Artsakh is in dire need of gaining independence, it is important to mention the history of the region. To begin, the region of Artsakh comprised the easternmost edge of Armenia. This is where provinces of Artsakh and Utik were located in the Ancient Armenian Kingdom. 


In 1918,  Armenia formed its first republic. Armenians made up nearly 95% of Artsakh’s inhabitants. Azerbaijan also formed their republic in 1918, unrightfully claiming the historic Armenian region of Artsakh as a part of their territory. It is extremely important to understand that this region has been populated by Armenians for centuries. The region has many historical monuments, churches, and artifacts that have encapsulated the Armenian spirit and history, proving their rights and connection to the land. Soon after in 1920, when the Soviets gained control, both Armenia and Azerbaijan fell under their rule. However, Armenia retained control of Artsakh. A short-lived victory for the Armenians when a year later, in 1921, Stalin redrew the USSR map, giving Artsakh to the Azerbaijani Soviet State to convince Turkey to join the Soviet Union. In an attempt to drive out Armenians, Azerbaijani authorities repopulated Artsakh with Azeris. This decreased the former Armenian population from 95% in 1926 to 75% in 1976. This small piece of land that holds great importance in the hearts of many Armenians was used as a chess piece to placate Turkish leaders into agreeing to Stalin’s regime. 


As a response to Stalin’s rash and uncalculated decision, from 1921 to 1988, the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh made at least 13 appeals to the Soviet authorities for separation from Azerbaijan SSR. All of these appeals were denied, taking away the right to live freely without the control of Azerbaijani authorities. Taking advantage of Mikhail Gorbachev’s freedom of expression policy in the late 1980s, Armenians in both Armenia and Artsakh SSR began to call for the reunification of the two regions. In June 1988 the Armenian Supreme soviet voted for the reunification of Artsakh with Armenia. The supreme soviet of Azerbaijan quickly rejected the proposal. The struggle continued and intensified until violence erupted in 1991 when Artsakh finally declared its independence. 


After 4 years of war, a ceasefire agreement was reached in 1994 and remained in effect until April 2016. In a matter of four days, the Azerbaijanis murdered over 350 Armenians, including innocent women and children who are civilians of the region. Shortly after on April 5th, another ceasefire was entered. Despite the agreements in place, Azerbaijan regularly violates the ceasefire and consistently advances into Artsakh, shelling the villages in which innocent civilians reside. 


On July 12th, 2020, Azeri Armed forces directed a military vehicle, filled with troops, into the region with the aim to continue their provocative aggression amid a global pandemic. However, their bloodthirsty campaign did not stop there. After, the Azerbaijani armed forces knowingly targeted their heavy artillery against civilian populations. Senselessly, multiple Azeri officials have falsely argued that it was Armenia’s armed forces who made these initial violent attempts. The Armenian community is too familiar with the aggression which has been made the official foreign policy for the state of Azerbaijan. Moreover, the Turkish government applauded Azeri violence as they violated the peaceful ceasefire once again. 


The heinous crimes of Azerbaijan and their ally Turkey has continued to be unnoticed by the international community, much like the atrocities committed in 1915, which resulted in the death of 1.5 million innocent Armenian lives. Over a century later many Armenians continue to ask themselves daily, “How much blood must be shed until our people can live in peace and gain the recognition they deserve?” 


Attacks and use of heavy weaponry by Azerbaijan have not been stopped. They have continued shelling Armenia’s civilian targets and have even surrounded themselves with their own civilian population. This tactic demonstrates the complete disregard for innocent human life, Armenian or otherwise, that Azerbaijan utilizes in order to distract from their own domestic problems. Furthermore, we as a community must stand firm against the continued violence that both Azerbaijan and Turkey have been operating against the Armenian people, their land, and their culture for over a century. 


According to Artsakh Ombudsman, Artak Beglaryan in a press briefing on Saturday morning, October 24th, 2020 (The Armenian Weekly Article, Humanitarian Disaster in Artsakh Widening as Attacks Continue.)


960 military mostly of the age 17-20 have been tortured and beheaded

37 civilians have died 

100 have been wounded 

10,500 homes have been destroyed

1,500 buildings, electrical networks, and gas pipelines have been destroyed

90,000 residents, which is 60% of the republic’s population, have fled their homes. 


This is not the end, the death tolls inch higher and higher every day we continue to stay silent. Ignoring this issue has dire consequences, one most importantly will eventually lead to a regional war. According to NY Times Article, Armenia and Azerbaijan: The Conflict Explained, Kramer writes, “Turkey’s direct engagement in support of its ethnic Turkic ally, Azerbaijan, in an area of traditional Russian influence, risks turning the local dispute into a regional one”. This must stop now to prevent more unnecessary bloodshed in the region. 


The failed response to condemn the recent Azeri aggression from the international community merely perpetuates the brutal behavior of Azerbaijan as they attempt to steal land while putting innocent lives at risk during the process. 


The Republic of Artsakh is in agreement to peacefully settle the conflict with the full participation of official representatives in all stages of the negotiation process. They are open to the exchange of opinions around the philosophy of settlement to the workout and realization of concrete steps and arrangements. As stated by the Government of Artsakh, “The peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh and the international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will serve for the establishment of stability and long-lasting peace in the region.” It is clear that not only the people but the government also share the interest of bringing an end to this conflict. As stated, international recognition of Artsakh will bring peace and harmony to the region which is desperately needed. 


All people deserve the right to live in peace. These are people who are losing their sons, husbands, and family in war to defend what is rightfully theirs. They are being ignored just as they were back in 1915. Ignored and unrecognized to the extent that even Hitler took this as reassurance to murder millions of Jews during the holocaust. In his Obersalzberg speech, he said, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" This proves that when we allow injustices to continue, it does not only pose a threat to a specific group of people but all people. Does this seem like something we want to happen?


For this aggression to stop, Artsakh must IMMEDIATELY be recognized as an independent nation! Foreign governments around the globe must do this in order to bring peace and justice to the people. With your signature, we can call for the attention of international leaders who can help stop these atrocities from continuing any longer. 

Works Cited

Staff, Weekly, and Arman Melkonyan says: “Humanitarian Disaster in Artsakh Widening as Attacks Continue.” The Armenian Weekly, 25 Oct. 2020, armenianweekly.com/2020/10/24/humanitarian-disaster-in-artsakh-widening -as-attacks-continue/. 

Kramer, Andrew E. “Armenia and Azerbaijan: The Conflict Explained.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Oct. 2020, www.nytimes.com/article/armenian-azerbaijan-conflict.html 

Sarvarian, Arman. "THE ARTSAKH QUESTION: AN ANALYSIS OF TERRITORIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN INTERNATIONAL LAW." Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 9, no. 1, 2008, pp. 190-216. ProQuest, http://libwin2k.glendale.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libwin2k glendale.edu/docview/217504601?accountid=27372.

LLC, Helix Consulting. “Government of Artsakh Republic.” The Movement History - About Artsakh Republic - Government of Artsakh Republic, gov.nkr.am/en/movement-history/. 

Photo credit to Marcus Yam, LA Times roving foreign correspondent and photographer. 

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!