Press release

Nagorno-Karabakh: Democracies Must Act to Protect Human Rights and Prevent Ethnic Cleansing

Mounting military tensions and a growing risk that ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh will be forced to leave the territory merit an urgent international response.

WASHINGTON—In response to increasing military tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and worsening conditions in Nagorno-Karabakh, Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz issued the following statement:

“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Azerbaijani military is massing equipment along the Armenian border. We condemn any plans to attack the sovereign territory of Armenia and urge mediating parties to work toward preventing any further violation of Armenia’s borders.

“Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor risks ethnic cleansing of the region’s Armenian population and is exacerbating the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. We urge the Azerbaijani government to engage sincerely in peace talks, refrain from weaponizing the security of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, and unconditionally open the blockade to guarantee unimpeded two-way movement of people, vehicles, and cargo along the Lachin corridor. We also urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint a special rapporteur to assess the human rights situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Armenia is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2023 and Free in Freedom on the Net 2022. Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2023 and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2022.

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.