WE WANT EUROPE IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH
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We call on the European Union to engage with Nagorno-Karabakh and to provide assistance to its population.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked mountainous territory in the South Caucasus, home to 150 000 people. It is one of several unrecognized states that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and it is one of the most disadvantaged areas in Europe.
The inhabitants of this small territory have been under blockade for more than 20 years. The Republic of Azerbaijan claims sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh and sought to isolate it from the outside world; this has caused considerable hardship.
The territory has one of the world's highest per capita mine casualty rates. Every year, civilians – mostly children and farmers - are victims of anti-personnel land mines. The Halo Trust is the only international NGO working on the ground, but it receives no public funding to clear the remaining fields.
With front lines on most of its borders and regular flare-ups of the conflict with Azerbaijan, security is a major issue. Atrocities have allegedly been committed during clashes at the border, but there are no international observers or NGOs to investigate them.
Oil-rich Azerbaijan invests considerable effort and money to ensure that foreign political leaders, officials, journalists and aid organisations stay out of the territory. At Azerbaijan’s insistence, the European Union (EU) also stays out of Nagorno-Karabakh. In the past 20 years, no EU official has travelled there and no EU assistance whatsoever has been provided to its population.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s isolation is unique. The EU provides aid to 150 countries around the World. It also provides aid to people in many unrecognized territories such as Abkhazia, Transnistria and Northern Cyprus regardless of their status. This policy is called “engagement without recognition”.
We call on the EU to engage with Nagorno-Karabakh and support projects to improve the living conditions of its population because EU policies should contribute to the welfare, not to the hardship of populations in Europe and in its periphery.
We also call on Europe to engage with Nagorno-Karabakh, because it must be present and contribute to peace as conflict escalates on its doorstep.
For more information and to find out what you can do to help, please visit: www.agbueurope.eu
This appeal was endorsed by the following public figures from across Europe:
Frank Engel, Member of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) - Michèle Rivasi, Member of the European Parliament (France) - Aloys Kabanda, Author, survivor of the genocide of the Tutsi, Ibuka (Belgium) - Bart Staes, Member of the European Parliament (Belgium) - Jill Evans, Member of the European Parliament (United Kingdom) - Peter Niedermüller, Member of the European Parliament (Germany) - Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement - EGAM, Coordinator of the Elie Wiesel Network of Parliamentarians of Europe for the Prevention of Mass Atrocities and Genocides and against Genocide Denial (France) - Josep Maria Terricabras, Member of the European Parliament – (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya) - Bernard Coulie, Professor and former Dean, the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) - Daniyel Demir, President of BDVAD, umbrella organization for Arameans in Germany - Dr Mark Levene, Reader in History at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom) - Dr Ruth Barnett, psychiatrist and writer (United Kingdom) - Dr. Tessa Hofmann, author and chairwoman of the human rights NGO Working Group "Recognition Against Genocide" (Germany) - Francisco Palacios Romeo, Professor of Constitutional Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zaragoza (Spain)- Frank de Boer, Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) (Belgium) - Fredrik Malm, Member of Swedish Parliament, Federal Chairman of the Liberal Party of Sweden, Deputy Chairman of the EU affairs committee, (Sweden) - Hans-Jochen Schmidt, Ambassador, retired (Germany) – Tommaso Nodari, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ organization (UNPO) (Belgium) - Harut Grigorian, World champion of kickboxing (Belgium) - Hervé Georgelin, PhD, Lecturer in History, Department of Turkish Studies, National and Capodistrian University of Athens (Greece) - Jose Antonio Gurriarán, Journalist & writer (Spain) - Klas-Göran Karlsson, Professor of history at the Department of History at Lund University (Sweden) - Mher Hovhanisian, Chess champion of Belgium (Belgium) - Iñaki Irazabalbeitia Fernández, former Member of the European Parliament, responsible for international relationships of Aralar political party - Jose María Etxebarria, member of the foreign affairs commission of EAJ-PNV political party - Murad Artin, Member of the City Countil of Örebro, former member of Parliament (Sweden) - Orit Arfa, journalist and author, (Israel & USA) - Pascale Charon, former Secretary General of the European Network Against Racism (Belgium) - Paul Meerts, Senior Research Associate at the Clingendael Institute (Netherlands) - Pedro Santisteve, Mayor of Zaragoza, professor at the Faculty of Law of Zaragoza, lawyer, social activist (Spain) - PhD Andrzej A. Zięba, Historian, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, the Jagiellonian University (Poland) - Prof. Dr. Otto Luchterhandt, Professor of Public Law and Eastern European Law at the University of Hamburg (retired) (Germany) - Ivaylo Mihaylov, tenor (Bulgaria) - Katrin Bornmüller, Honorary Chairwoman of the International Society for Human Rights Germany (German: Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte, IGFM) - Rafael Larreina Valderrama, former Vice-President and member of the Basque Parliament and former Basque deputy in the Congress of Deputies of the Spanish State - Ricardo Angoso Garcia, journalist, sociologist, political analyst and President of Forum of Ideas for Democracy (Spain & Colombia) - Svante Lundgren, Researcher, Lund University (Sweden) - Todor Petkov Hristev, Lecturer in philosophy at the French Academy of Plovdiv, former co-chairman of Plovdiv City (Bulgaria) - Tony Palmer, Film director (United Kingdom) - Vicent Partal, journalist, founder and manager of VilaWeb, Catalonia - Nikolay Gadjev, CEO, Markogi Ltd, Bulgaria. Francesco Trupia, Researcher in Political Philosophy, Sofia University, Bulgaria &Italy - Andrzej Pisowicz, linguist and retired professor of the Institute of Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University (Poland) - Eudald Calvo, Mayor of Argentona, Catalonia - David Bondia, Professor of Public and International relations, Faculty of Law, University of Barcelona and President of the Human Rights Institute of Catalonia (IDHC) - Luis Murillo, Former attorney of the Government of Aragón (Spain) - Åke Daun, Professor emeritus in ethnology, Nordic Museum and Stockholm University (Sweden) - Dr. Christian Kolter, sociologist and economist, Leipzig (Germany) - Harry van Bommel, former Member of Parliament (the Netherlands) - Veselina Gadjeva, Deputy Rector of Scientific and International Activities at "Tracian University" of Stara Zagora (Bulgaria) – Tills Mansmann, Member of the Praesidium, FDP-Hessen (Germany) - Dieter Werner Schleier, Chairman of the CDU in Ringsheim (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) - Atanas Vladimirov Boiadjiev, Lawyer, Associate Professor in History, Sofia New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria) – Jan Abgarowicz, co-founder, Foundation for Civic Responsibility (Poland) - Joël Kotek, political scientist and historian (Belgium) - Arthur Abraham, two-weight world champion of boxing (Germany) - Lady Caroline Cox, the Baroness Cox of Queensbury, Founder and CEO of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), Member of the House of Lords (United Kingdom) - André Dubus, Member of the Brussels Regional Parliament, Member of the Parliament of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Belgium) - Philippe Mesnard, professor of comparative litterature and of French litterature, director of the journal "Mémoires en Jeu" (France) - Marie Thibaut de Maisières, columnist for BelRTL, RadioJudaïca and La Libre Belgique (Belgium) - Lorenzo Consoli, EU correspondent at Askanews (Belgium) - Ash Body, representative of the HALO Trust (United Kingdom) - Krzysztof Stopka, Professor of History and Armenian Studies (Poland) -
- President of the European Council
Donald Tusk (President of the European Council)
- High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
- President of the European Parliament
We would like the European Union to engage with Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) and provide aid to its population. Providing EU assistance and engaging with NK would indeed be entirely consistent with EU policy.
Nagorno-Karabakh is of course a disputed territory and negotiations continue as to its future status. In the meantime, 150 000 people continue to live under very difficult conditions in that territory. The region is poor, and conditions are made worse by its enforced isolation and by the consequences of the conflict – most families have lost members in the war, the threat of war is constant and landmines continue to take their toll every year.
The EU has so far refrained from entering the territory, making it the only territory in Europe where no EU officials ever go and where no EU projects are carried out. The EU is otherwise present everywhere in Europe, including in other unrecognized territories.
One well-known expert on the Caucasus, Thomas de Waal, strongly advocates engagement in unrecognized territories such as NK: “they are home to hundreds of thousands of people who do not deserve to lose their fundamental rights just because the status of the territory they live in is undetermined”. The EU Council itself declared (on 27/2/2012) “the need for unconditional access for representatives of the EU to Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions”. The European Parliament also wants the EU to provide aid to, and engage with, NK.
It is thus our opinion that engagement would best serve Europe’s interests and contribute to peace in the South Caucasus. That is why we ask you to help provide assistance to, and engage with, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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