Nagorno-Karabakh: authorities appeal for international help in the face of exodus to Armenia
According to the latest figures given by the Armenian authorities, more than 42,500 refugees have arrived in Armenia in a few days, a third of the population of this separatist region who have fled the territory and the advance of Azerbaijani troops. On the spot, everyone hopes for the establishment of international aid.
Residents fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia via the Lachinian corridor, September 26, 2023. AP - Vasily Krestyaninov
By: RFI Follow
Baku pledged on Monday (September 25th) to guarantee the rights of the Armenian inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh and to let go the soldiers who lay down their arms, but other statements raise fears of reprisals by the Azerbaijani authorities, in particular the fact that these authorities claim to want to search for the perpetrators of "war crimes" among the separatist soldiers.
The inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh expect at best to be discriminated against, at worst to suffer violence and ethnic cleansing and that is why they take the road, explains our special envoy on the spot, Daniel Vallot. The only road that allows you to reach Armenia: that of the famous Lachinian corridor. This explains the endless traffic jams.
In all, it takes about 30 hours to be able to leave Nagorno-Karabakh while the enclave is still running out of gasoline, said the special envoy of France 24 in Goris, Taline Oundjian. Volunteers bring them to the border in jerry cans so that these cars can at least reach the nearest town across the border.
Overwhelmed associations in Goris
This town across the border is called Goris and it has a population of 20,000. It is facing, in dramatic conditions, the arrival of tens of thousands of totally destitute people. A number of them had to sleep in their cars when it was already cold in Goris and volunteers say they are overwhelmed and short of bread.
Ani is one of those who left everything and now hopes that international aid will arrive quickly, after a long journey, without food and having brought only a few belongings with her.
We slept in the car for two nights. We now hope that international assistance will arrive. The situation is difficult, we are at war. So I'm sure they'll help us.
04 HT-KARABAKH _Son Testimonial Ani who "hopes that help will arrive quickly" 5H
The authorities, associations and observers in the region are all calling for aid, an observation mission and journalists to enter Nagorno-Karabakh to report on the situation and bring in the products needed by forcibly displaced people.
After 26 hours by car, Azat has just arrived with his family in Goris, after a long drive, local associations there bring them water, food and products they had not seen for months, as Nagorno-Karabakh has been under blockade since December 12, 2022.
We don't have family here, but we can sleep at friends' houses until the government comes to our aid. The authorities told us that we are safe, the deputy minister came to us to say that we would be taken care of. But honestly, we have no idea what tomorrow will bring.
03 HT-KARABAKH _Son Azat testimonial "just arrived in Goris" 7H
Now these refugees must be urgently housed and housing solutions found in Armenia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced that his country has prepared to take in 40,000 refugees, but at this rate, the gauge is likely to be reached much faster, than the Armenian authorities imagined.
Economic and political support from European countries
On Tuesday, helicopters were also seen in the sky. Azerbaijan has opened its airspace to the Russians so they can evacuate hundreds of people seriously injured after a petrol station exploded and killed dozens.
The authorities of the self-proclaimed Republic are multiplying their calls for help, particularly to European countries. Its representative in France, Hovhannes Guevorkian, was present at the rally of support organized by French parliamentarians on Tuesday 26 September in front of the National Assembly: "This is the path of exodus, Nagorno-Karabakh will be emptied in the coming days because the queue on the road, in one direction only, from Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, to the nearest town Goris, is impressive. Economic and political support is needed. The dignified reception that these persons deserve as refugees should be organized, their place in Armenia in this society should be found and necessary measures should be created so that they can be reintegrated and continue their lives with dignity.»
🇨🇵🇦🇲 After the blockade and starvation, the bombs. And after the bombs, the exodus for Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Deputies and senators, we gathered in front of the @AssembleeNat in support of the Armenian people in the face of the aggression of the Aliyev 🇦🇿 regime #SanctionAliyev pic.twitter.com/MhW9MOll10
— Anne-Laurence Petel (@al_petel) September 26, 2023
And with AFP)
NewsletterReceive all the international news directly in your mailbox
Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application
Read on on the same topics:
- International migration