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Letter from Civil Society organizations in Armenia to the Secretary General of NATO and Foreign Affairs Departments of member states

October 30, 2020

Peacebuilding | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2020 | Peaceful Regulation of Convicts | Joint | Announcements | Publications

On 14 October 2020, a number of civil society organizations had addressed James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as Despina Afentouli, NATO Brussels Caucasus officer, and Rosaria Puglisi, Head of NATO Liaison office in Georgia, and the NATO Member States’ embassies in Armenia, with an appeal to prevent actions aimed at military escalation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict by Turkey, a member state of NATO.

 

In the said letter, we had informed that Turkey had supported and mediated the transfer from Syria to Azerbaijan of thousands of mercenaries, including combatants of terrorist groups known to the international community, in order to participate directly in the hostilities against Nagorno Karabakh, which is populated by ethnic Armenians. This information has been revealed through a number of journalistic investigations and confirmed by officials of many states, including France, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as officials of the USA, the European Parliament, and the United Kingdom. Moreover, there are numerous videos online proving that mercenaries including terrorists, are engaged in military actions.

 

The leading international human rights organizations have warned that, in addition to engaging terrorist mercenaries, Azerbaijan is, with Turkey’s support, using against the civilian population of Nagorno Karabakh ammunitions that are prohibited by international humanitarian law, including cluster bombs and ballistic missiles, and that war crimes are being committed, which have been analyzed and confirmed by the international media, among others. Some examples include the humiliation, torture, and killing of Armenian prisoners of war, or Azerbaijan’s refusal to exchange the bodies of killed military personnel after the ceasefire, etc. Moreover, despite the three concluded ceasefires brokered by the presidents of the three co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, Turkey’s top leaders have each time encouraged Azerbaijan to resume the fighting against Nagorno Karabakh, thereby assuming direct responsibility also for hindering the ceasefire to hold.

 

Despite the reports of the said crimes and violations, NATO or any of its member states have to date failed to respond to the letter of the non-governmental organizations; the position of the Alliance on the actions of its member Turkey has not been presented.

 

We consider that NATO, as a military-political alliance fighting against international terrorism, is obligated to take effective measures to prevent future terrorist acts and the deployment of terrorist groups in the South Caucasus or the wider region.

 

According to the North Atlantic Treaty, the Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Armenia is NATO's active partner under Partnership for Peace Programme, Armenia cooperates with NATO in the defence sphere, in Afghanistan and Kosovo and on political and security issues, democratic standards, rule of law, and the fight against corruption. In this light, military operations by a NATO Ally towards a NATO Partner country, as well as of a NATO Partner (Azerbaijan) towards another NATO partner (Armenia) undermine the spirit of NATO Partnership for Peace and NATOs stance on encouraging peaceful resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group.

 

Civil society hereby expresses concern over the fact that NATO and its Member States have failed to take any measures to prevent or stop Turkey, their ally and a NATO member state, from introducing terrorists into the South Caucasus and unfolding terrorist activities. This may be viewed as inaction and indifference towards respecting the fundamental principles of the North Atlantic Alliance.

 

We expect that NATO Member States will, nevertheless, take the required measures, including specific and genuine steps in line with the concerns expressed over the continuing violations of the ceasefire and the ensuing casualties during the meeting held in Brussels between Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, and Armen Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia.

 

Therefore, we hereby once again call upon the NATO Member States that are genuinely interested in settling the Nagorno Karabakh conflict by peaceful means and without use of force, in accordance with the North Atlantic Treaty, to put the following issues to an urgent discussion in the agenda of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly:

 

📌Preventing the direct or indirect involvement of Turkey, a NATO member state, in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict;

📌Precluding Turkey from recruiting terrorists and engaging them in the hostilities against Nagorno Karabakh; and

📌Conducting an impartial investigation into the war crimes in the hostilities waged with Turkey’s support and taking effective steps to prevent such crimes from occurring.

 

Letter from Civil Society organizations in Armenia to the Secretary General of NATO and Foreign Affairs Departments of member states

Signatories:

 

  1. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
  2. Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
  3. Asparez Club of Journalists
  4. Protection of Rights without Borders
  5. Open Society Foundations – Armenia
  6. Legal Development and Protection Foundation
  7. Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC)
  8. Public Journalism Club
  9. Center for Legal Initiatives NGO
  10. Armenian United Nations Association
  11. Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
  12. Communities Finance Officers Association
  13. Peace Dialogue NGO
  14. New Generation Humanitarian NGO
  15. “Agate” Rights Defense Center for Women with Disabilities NGO
  16. Center for Rights Development NGO
  17. Centre for Policy Studies
  18. “Pink” human rights defender NGO
  19. Martuni Women's Community Council NGO
  20. Armenian Psycho-Oncology Association
  21. Country Water Partnership NGO
  22. Centre for Community Mobilization and Support NGO
  23. "Free Citizen" Civic Initiatives Support Center NGO
  24. Queer sista platform NGO
  25. Society Without Violence NGO
  26. Compatriotic Union of ''Artsvabuyn Zeytun'' ngo
  27. Sexual Assault Crisis Center NGO
  28. AEGEE-Yerevan/European Students' Forum
  29. Coalition to Stop Violence against Women
  30. Real World Real People NGO
  31. Socioscope NGO
  32. "Women's Forum" NGO
  33. Helsinki Committee of Armenia
  34. Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development
  35. Consumers Support Center NGO
  36. 'Shogher Union" Social-Educatinal NGO
  37. "Caucasus" Sociological Research Centre NGO
  38. World Armenian Youth Network - WostAYN
  39. Social and Youth Workers
  40. Regional Development and Research Center NGO
  41. B2S Armenian Social Entrepreneurship Association NGO
  42. Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia
  43. Human rights power NGO
  44. Human Rights House Yerevan
  45. Human Rights Research Center
  46. Tatevik NGO
  47. Union of Informed Citizens 
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