Center for National and International Studies
“Over 70,000 Armenians, which amounts to more than half of the population in Nagorno Karabakh, have fled…”
(Lack of ) Human Rights and Freedoms
Agil Hummetov, a member of the Khazar District Branch of the APFP, had been on a hunger strike for 16 days while incarcerated in the Penitentiary Institute. He started a hunger strike to demand a resolution of the financial problems his family suffering from. Today, during a meeting with his lawyer, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, he was informed of a request from his party colleagues to halt the hunger strike. Taking this request into consideration, Agil Hummetov decided to end his hunger strike.
Supporters of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Prosperity Party staged a demonstration to protest the detention of economist and party chairman Gubad Ibadoglu. Their primary demand was the immediate release of the chairman and other political detainees. Ibadoghlu, who is also a professor at LSE, was apprehended during a brief visit to Baku in July of this year. He refutes the charges of “preparation, acquisition, or sale of counterfeit money or securities by an organized group.” The global community has decried his arrest as an arbitrary and politically motivated act.
In the village of Soyudlu in the Gadabay district, it has been observed that certain parameters in water bodies exceeded the established standards. However, plans are underway to resume operations at the local gold mine. Monitoring of underground water and soil was conducted in both the industrial and residential areas of Soyudlu village in Gadabay. Small traces of cyanide were detected in the water from three monitoring wells within the factory premises, as reported by the commission established to investigate the situation in Soyudlu. The statement mentions that during the analysis of samples, several indicators in water bodies and soil were found to be above the established norms. Although this does not pose an immediate threat to the environment and human health, it is considered potentially hazardous. According to a report from a British company that has been monitoring the situation in Soyudlu for two months, toxic cyanide was discovered in the water from three wells located within the gold plant’s premises in the village. The Cabinet of Ministers’ information notes that this finding could be regarded as a potential environmental risk.
Despite the findings of the commision, the operations of the gold company have been resumed, but the police checkpoint at the village’s entrance has not yet been removed. On June 20th, around one hundred residents of Soyudlu village in Gadabay District convened a protest against a mining corporation accused of environmental pollution. Their primary grievance centered on the establishment of an artificial lake designed to serve as a disposal site for the mine’s acidic waste. Several human rights organizations criticized the use of excessive force by the police, the village’s lockdown, and purported arrests of activists and journalists. They urged Azerbaijani authorities to conduct thorough investigations into all reported violations during the protest in Soyudlu village, Gadabay District.
The Situation in Karabakh
The mass departure of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh continues. Armenian officials have stated that over 70,000 individuals, which amounts to more than half of the population in Nagorno Karabakh, have fled following a rapid Azerbaijani military campaign last week that regained control of the region. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinian has accused Azerbaijan of engaging in “ethnic cleansing” and warned that no Armenians would be left in the breakaway region. “This is a direct act of ethnic cleansing that we warned the international community about,” Pashinian told a government meeting on September 28, calling for concrete action by the international community.
The President of the unrecognized, self-declared Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Samvel Shahramanyan, has issued a decree officially dissolving the republic. This decision is attributed to the developments following September 19, 2023. The decree outlines that all residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, both within and outside the region, are to acquaint themselves with the terms of reintegration proposed by the Republic of Azerbaijan. Subsequently, they are encouraged to make independent and individual decisions once the decree takes effect.
In the decree, it is explicitly stated that all governmental institutions of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have been dissolved. Following this, every Armenian resident in Karabakh will have the autonomy to decide whether to accept Azerbaijan’s reintegration proposals, choose to reside in Azerbaijan, or opt to leave Karabakh.
According to information released by the Ministry of Health, a total of 192 servicemen from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan have lost their lives during the anti-terrorist operations in Karabakh. Among the fallen servicemen, 180 belonged to the Ministry of Defense, while 12 were associated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Additionally, one civilian has also been murdered. Furthermore, as a result of these local anti-terrorist measures, 511 military personnel and one civilian have sustained injuries.
Meanwhile, president Ilham Aliyev has stated that he has no objections to the deployment of an international observation mission in Karabakh. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held discussions with President Aliyev, and they addressed the imperative of averting potential conflicts post-military operations, ensuring the unconditional protection and free movement of civilians, and facilitating unimpeded humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh, as relayed by Washington State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. Moreover, President Aliyev assured Blinken that “there will be no further military operations, and we expect it to remain that way,” as conveyed by Miller. Specific details regarding the precise mechanism of the potential international mission to Karabakh were not disclosed, with Miller noting that this remains a subject for discussion with regional allies and partners.
September 29, 2023