Saturday, 28 November 2020

W Weekly Update

3-10 October

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Weekly update

 

10 October

The Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) welcome the joint announcement by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Armenian Foreign Minister Zorab Mnatsakanyan, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on a humanitarian ceasefire and call on the sides to execute their commitments in full. According to OSCE website the Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk, are in intensive discussions with the International Committee of the Red Cross on the modalities and logistics of the return of remains and detainees as soon as possible.  We call on the sides to provide all the necessary security and logistical assurances on an urgent basis.

 

9 October

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for an “urgent cease-fire” in Nagorno-Karabakh region Friday as nearly two weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has taken a heavy toll on civilians. In line with VOA news “It is deeply worrying that in recent days we have seen populated areas reportedly targeted and shelled with heavy weaponry in and around the conflict area,” Bachelet said in a statement. Bachelet’s office said it had received unconfirmed reports that more than 50 civilians, including children, have been killed since the fighting erupted Sept. 27. About 400 soldiers have been killed, and thousands of people have fled their homes. Bachelet’s call for a cease-fire came hours after the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed to participate in Moscow-mediated talks to end the fighting.

 

8 October

Fiercest clashes since 2016 in and around Nagorno –Karabakh are expected to lead to displacement, as confirmed by initial observation. According to Reliefweb IOM stands ready to support with humanitarian assistance to displaced and other conflict-affected populations in the fields where it has experience and capacity to respond, in coordination with governmental, international and local actors. IOM Armenia maintains its capacity to address the myriad impacts of crises, including in preparedness, livelihoods and health. At the same time, the Armenian economy is expected to contract significantly as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a rise in the unemployment rate, reduced remittances and increase of poverty. Almost 250,000 persons in Armenia rely on mobility-generated income, including common livelihoods strategies such as remittances sent by family members working abroad and income from circular or seasonal migration.

 

7 October

The intense shelling in Nagorno-Karabakh is taking its toll on the civilian population. Stepanakert, the territory’s capital, has been under intense artillery barrage in recent days, reported the Washington Post. The EU expressed concern Wednesday about the fighting. “We have seen extremely worrying reports of attacks on populated areas which is taking a deadly toll on civilians. We strongly urge the sides to fully observe their international obligations to protect civilian populations,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told members of the European Parliament. He voiced concern about Azerbaijan’s determination to continue the fight until Armenia’s withdrawal from the region and a strong expression of support for Azerbaijan from Turkey. Turkey has publicly backed Azerbaijan in the conflict and said it was ready to provide military assistance, should Azerbaijan request it.

 

6 October

The United Nations Secretary-General has condemned the continuing escalation of violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, reminding all sides of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. According to Secretary-General António Guterres “is gravely concerned by reports of the extension of UNO hostilities, including the targeting of populated areas,” read a statement issued by his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, on Monday. “He reminds all sides of their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure under international humanitarian law,” the statement added.

 

5 October

Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts were able to trace the location of the footage to residential areas of Stepanakert, and identified Israeli-made M095 DPICM cluster munitions that appear to have been fired by Azerbaijani forces, said Amnesty International. “The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s acting Head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.“Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable. As fighting continues to escalate, civilians must be protected, not deliberately targeted or recklessly endangered.” Amnesty International has called on all sides to the conflict to fully respect international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities.

 

4 October

"The ICRC strongly condemns the reported indiscriminate shelling and other alleged unlawful attacks using explosive weaponry in cities, towns and other populated areas, in which civilians are losing their lives and suffering terrible injuries, including life-changing ones,” said Martin Schüepp, ICRC Eurasia regional director in Geneva. According to ICRC the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area against military targets in populated areas may violate international humanitarian law, which prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. The ICRC considers that explosive weapons with a wide impact area should be avoided in populated areas unless sufficient mitigation measures are taken to limit their wide-area effects and the consequent risk of civilian harm.

 

The Armenian government lodged a request to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to apply an interim measure against Turkey, the Armenian Representation at the ECHR told Armenpress. “In  particular, taking into account Turkey’s multifaceted support to the attacks of Azerbaijan on the civilian population and facilities of the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia, which are accompanied by gross violations of international humanitarian law and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as given Turkey’s constant participation to the military operations, Armenia on its own behalf and on behalf of the Republic of Artsakh has submitted a request to apply an interim measure, envisaged by Rule 39 of its Rules of Court, against Turkey”, the statement says.

 

3 October

Armenia said on Friday it would work with Russia, the United States and France on renewing a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, but Azerbaijan has not responded to a call for a ceasefire meditated by the three countries - co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, reported China Global Television Network (CGTN) with input from Reuters. France accused Turkey of sending Syrian mercenaries to the tiny enclave and Russia also expressed concern about the alleged deployment of fighters from Syria and Libya. PM Pashinyan told U.S. national security adviser Robert O'Brien by telephone that a ceasefire would be impossible unless "mercenaries and terrorists" are removed from Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting is more serious than at any time since a war in the 1990s in which 30,000 people were killed and has deepened concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a region where pipelines carry Azeri oil and gas to world markets.

 

Sources: www.osce.org; www.voanews.com; https://reliefweb.int; www.washingtonpost.com; https://news.un.org/en; www.amnesty.org; www.icrc.org/en; https://news.cgtn.comwww.armenpress.am

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