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A displaced Armenian woman. Photo: CSI

Christian Armenians want to return to Azerbaijan homeland

A Christian human rights organization is emphasizing the “absolute right” of Christian Armenians to return to their homeland in Azerbaijan. Six months ago 120,000 Armenians were attacked and driven out by armed forces in the Muslim-majority country.

It comes as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Tuesday that Armenia “a war could erupt by the end of the week” with neighboring Azerbaijan unless borders can be determined.

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) supports a joint declaration by a group of political parties from Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia urging Armenia to advocate for the Artsakh people’s right to return to their homeland under international protection and guarantees.

READ: Armenian Christians fear destruction of ancient churches

The declaration issued on March 14 references the Artsakh people’s inviolable right to live freely in their ancestral lands. It warns that there can be no peace in the region when a segment of the Armenian people is forcefully uprooted from its homeland.

In an oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council 55th Session in Geneva on March 21, CSI’s Joel Veldkamp recalled that the International Court of Justice had ruled on November 17 last year that Azerbaijan must “ensure” that the Armenians are able to return to Nagorno Karabakh in a “safe, unimpeded and expeditious manner.”

Veldkamp noted that the exiled National Assembly of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh has appointed a Committee for the Defense of the Fundamental Rights of the Artsakh People, led by former Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian, to secure the right of return for Karabakh Armenians.

“We urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to work with this Committee to negotiate a framework that will allow the residents of Nagorno Karabakh to return to their homes peacefully and safely, with international guarantees,” he said.

Veldkamp concluded, “We urge the Human Rights Council and all UN member states to support this effort. There is still time to undo the ethnic cleansing of Nagorno Karabakh.”

CSI International President John Eibner pointed out that neither the United States, Russia, China, France nor the United Kingdom had actively opposed Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Armenian Christians from their historic homeland.

“CSI therefore endorses the statement of the political parties from Armenia and Artsakh, and calls on these Great Powers to act on its recommendations in the UN Security Council,” Eibner said. “A sustainable peace in the region depends on it.”

–Metro Voice

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