Press release September 14, 2022
Freedom House Condemns Azerbaijani Attacks on Armenia, Calls for Diplomacy
Military attacks on sovereign nations have no place in the rules-based international order.
In response to the Azerbaijani military’s ongoing strikes on locations within the Republic of Armenia, Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz issued the following statement:
“The Azerbaijani armed forces must immediately cease their deadly attacks on Armenian territory and commit to the ongoing peace process facilitated by the EU, the US, and Russia. Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia should be carried out through diplomacy and negotiation, not through artillery and drone strikes.
“The people of Armenia and Azerbaijan deserve peace and security. Military attacks on sovereign nations have no place in the rules-based international order, which is why we urge the US government, fellow democracies, and international organizations to call for an immediate cease-fire. We welcome the commitment by French president Emmanuel Macron to hold discussions at the UN Security Council, and urge democratic governments to consider additional steps to protect Armenia’s territorial integrity.”
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenian forces fought a war for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an autonomous region of Azerbaijan in which the population was majority Armenian. The victorious Armenian forces displaced hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh and from adjoining territories of Azerbaijan that they occupied.
The Republic of Armenia financially and militarily supported the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, which claimed independence but is unrecognized by any other state. Peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve borders and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh continued throughout the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. The negotiations were inconclusive, and there were frequent violations of the cease-fire between the parties.
In September 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive with Turkish support that recaptured the occupied Azerbaijani territories and one third of Nagorno-Karabakh. Tens of thousands of Armenian civilians were displaced from the region. The war ended when Russia mediated a cease-fire agreement and sent thousands of peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Since the end of the 2020 war, the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been negotiating implementation of the cease-fire agreement and a final peace treaty. Despite the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh there have been frequent violations of the cease-fire during this time, and Azerbaijani forces have moved into several additional villages in Nagorno-Karabakh beyond the line laid out in the cease-fire. There were also several occasions on which Azerbaijani forces entered the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
Overnight September 12 and 13, 2022, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched artillery and drone attacks against targets inside the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian government stated that 105 soldiers have been killed in the attacks, and the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense reported that 50 soldiers have been killed on their side. Azerbaijani authorities claimed that the attacks were in response to provocations from the Armenian side within Nagorno-Karabakh.
Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.
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