BREAK THE SILENCE ON THE ETHNIC CLEANSING IN OCCUPIED LANDS OF REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
TO THE OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
BREAK THE SILENCE ON THE ETHNIC CLEANSING IN OCCUPIED LANDS OF REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
The signatories of this petition calling for the breaking of the ongoing silence on the brutal ETHNIC CLEANSING carried out by Armenia-backed separatists in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The addressees of the call are the human rights organizations mentioned in Appendix1, especially the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Following the uprisings and military actions of ethnic Armenians of the Nagorno Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1989-1994, various massacres occurred in this region and adjacent seven districts. As a result of these events, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or subjected to torture and violence. Moreover, while about one million non-Armenian Azerbaijanis were expelled from their homes and lands, Nagorno-Karabakh and its seven adjacent regions were occupied by Armenia-backed separatist militants. The United Nations Security Council’s 822, 853, 874 and 884 resolutions in 1993 acknowledged that Armenia occupied Azerbaijan’s territory. In addition, out of the various massacres, the Khojaly massacre in 1992 caused broad international reactions. As explained below, since 1989 what has happened in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions is not merely a massacre and occupation but an evident example of brutal ETHNIC CLEANSING.
During the last 30 years, the crimes committed by the Armenia-backed separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan must be categorized as one of the most evident examples of ETHNIC CLEANSING. According to the report S/25274 of Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992), ETHNIC CLEANSING is “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of another ethnic or religious group from a given area.” Furthermore, this Commission’s S/1994/674 report defines ETHNIC CLEANSING as “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove, by violent and terror-inspiring means, the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.” There are various reasons that prove the adopted policies and the committed crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh and its adjacent seven occupied regions, which have largely been ignored by the world public opinion and human rights organizations, are acts of ETHNIC CLEANSING:
- From 1989 to1994, non-Armenian Azerbaijanis including ethnic Turks and minorities living in the occupied regions were expelled from their lands under pressure. Those who did not or could not leave their homes lost their rights to live and/or were subjected to the arbitrary execution, massacre, and violence (for example, see a report published by Human Rights Watch contains details of the Khojaly massacre: https://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/a/azerbjn/azerbaij94d.pdf). As a result of these events, no non-Armenian Azerbaijani lives in Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied areas. Furthermore, in this procedure, the fundamental rights recognized in Articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been violated.
- Satellite images that are accessible for everyone show that only the traces of the walls of occupied cities such as Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Kalbajar, and Qubadli are left (sample images are presented in Appendix2). Moreover, neighborhoods and lands of ethnic Turks and other non-Armenian citizens of Azerbaijan in regions such as Shusha, Lachin, Aghdam, and Asgeran were seized by some Armenians. Therefore, in this 30-year period that started with forced migrations and massacres, all physical and cultural assets and evidence belonging to killed or expelled Azerbaijanis were erased from the occupied areas. Accordingly, the cultural heritage of the communities living in the pre-occupied region was destroyed and the right of about one million people to live freely in their homeland, to travel freely, and to use their own resources was taken away. In addition, during the occupation process, the fundamental rights and freedoms defined in paragraph 2 of Article 1 and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in Article 15(a) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have clearly been violated.
- As it is clear from the satellite images, the natural resources like lands, water resources, and mines which once used to belong to the expelled or killed Azerbaijanis have been exploited by the occupiers.
- Images taken from occupied areas show that even the doors and windows of the homes of the occupation victims were looted.
Therefore, what has been applied in the last 30 years against ethnic Turks and other non-Armenian citizens of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh and its adjacent seven occupied regions fully complies with the definition of ETHNIC CLEANSING in the above-mentioned reports of the United Nations Security Council. That is why we call on the human rights organizations to break their silence in the context of the fact of ETHNIC CLEANSING and CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY carried out by certain groups supported by the Armenian state in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. We also emphasize the importance of sending representatives to the region to closely observe and document these CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
The images of the occupied regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan (For satellite images (October 2020) see: https://earth.google.com).
- The satellite images of completely ruined Fuzuli. Fuzuli was one of the important seven regions occupied by Armenian forces in 1993. Now it is a ghost town with destroyed houses.
2. A dam in just the north-east of the Fuzuli has been ruined. Occupiers exploit natural resources that belong to the displaced population of the city:
3. Left-down: Farmlands of the displaced Fuzuli citizens are cultivated by occupiers; Center: the ruins of Fuzuli; Righ-up: Fuzuli Dam.
4. While Fuzuli has been completely ruined, the occupiers founded some building for business and military purposes:
5. Qarakollu, one of the ruined Azerbaijani villages between Fuzuli and Hadrut:
6. Jabrayil is a completely deserted city in the south-east of the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. The city was occupied in 1993 by Armenia-backed separatists:
7. Armenian buildings just in the south of Jabrayil ruins:
8. Left: a deserted settlement place in Jabrayil district; Right: a colony of occupiers. The difference between the two settlement areas’ planning and architecture shows who were the main owners and who came later:
9. Sultanlı on the shore of Araz River:
10. Ruins of the occupied Minjuvan (left) on the shore of Araz River. Occupiers cultivate the fertile shorelands of Araz:
11. Ruins of Zangilan, a city occupied in 1993:
12. Ruins of Qubadlı, a city occupied in 1993:
13. Ruins of Lachin, a city occupied in 1992:
14. Khojaly, a small city where the brutal massacre of February 1992 took place. Satellite images in 2020 show that the occupiers have purged all traces of the real owners:
15. Khojali in 2015. Comparing images from 2015 and 2020 reveals that occupiers eliminated the last remnants of the old city in five years:
16. Ruins of Kalbajar, a city occupied in 1993:
17. Two districts of Shusha known with historical Aşağı Gövher Ağa and Yuxarı Gövher Ağa Mosques used to be populated by ethnic Turks. Now both districts were seized by the ethnic Armenians:
18. Khalafli, is an occupied village of Jabaryil on the shore of Araz River. This satellite image in 2020 shows that even walls were razed to the ground. Comparing this image with another image taken from close distance in 2015 (below) shows that five years ago the village’s homes, with their looted doors and windows, were not destroyed completely:
19. A view of Khalafli village in 2015 from the south shore of Araz in Iran. The occupiers looted windows and doors of homes in the occupied region (Source: Mohsen Hadi’s collection):
20. Looted homes in close-up images of Khudafarin Village in Jabrayil Region just in front of Khudafarin Dam and Hasrat Bridge (2015). The pictures were taken from the south shores of Araz River in Iran (Source: Mohsen Hadi’s Collection):