Impending attack on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabach)

German Federal Government must take the signs seriously

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that Azerbaijan might be planning an attack on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), which is mainly inhabited by Armenians: “According to information from Armenian sources, Armenian soldiers were once again shot at tonight around 1:30 am, in Norabak in the province of Gegharkunik. On September 1, four Armenian soldiers had been killed in a similar attack,” stated Sara Reinke, STP expert on Eastern Europe, in Göttingen today. “The German Federal Government should take these signs seriously. Admittedly, there has been skirmish over the last years too, but the current situation is highly dangerous.” Due to Armenia’s blockade of Artsakh, which has been going on for more than eight months now, Armenia is weakened. In a letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the human rights organization urged the German Federal Government to demand the blockade to be lifted immediately.

There had already been concrete signs for a planned escalation in mid-August: “President Aliyev had signed a new decree according to which all citizens above 18 years of age must report for military service between October 1 and October 31, 2023,” Reinke said. “Further, Azerbaijan has concentrated troops along the entire contact line with Artsakh.” The renowned Lemkin Institute is warning of a war as well. A military attack on Artsakh might lead to mass killings that could amount to genocide. “If the Armenians were to be driven out of Artsakh, this would lead to enormous refugee movements that could further destabilize the region. This would also lead to the genocidal destruction of an entire people, as the Armenians would lose their identity as people from Artsakh – an identity that was shaped by hundreds, even thousands of years of independent cultural bloom in the mountains and valleys,” the Institute stated.

In its letter to Chancellor Scholz, the STP thus also urged him to show initiative for a humanitarian airlift – to be organized by the EU – to provide aid for the people in Artsakh. An independent investigation team should document the current situation there. Further, the German Federal Government should finally take all diplomatic measures to impose sanctions on the Aliyev-regime. “Please put pressure on Azerbaijan to make the regime stop its threats against the people of Artsakh and Armenia immediately – and ensure that a national mechanism for the prevention of a genocide is implemented, as a necessary prerequisite for any international aid,” the letter says.

Azerbaijan has been blocking the Lachin Corridor for more than eight months now, cutting off the 120,000 people living in Artsakh. The humanitarian situation in the region is getting more and more desperate, especially for the sick, the elderly, and for children.