ICRC calls on parties to guarantee the safety of civilians

The authorities of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno Karabakh have reported that at least 27 people have died and another 200 have been injured after the attacks launched this Tuesday by Azerbaijan in response to the death of Azeri soldiers and civilians after the explosion of anti-personnel mines in the region.

As reported by the Human Rights representative of Arstaj – the name by which the separatist region is officially known -, Gegham Stepani├ín, in his profile on the social network They are civilians. Likewise, he has assured that 7,000 people have been evacuated from 16 settlements in the region.

“Azerbaijan continues its criminal offensive against Nagorno Karabakh. Civilian assets and infrastructure are also attacked,” he previously added, reporting that in Yeghtsahgoh, near the important city of Shusha, the Armed Forces have destroyed the school and it is not possible to evacuate residents of the area.

The Government of Azerbaijan announced this Tuesday the start of “anti-terrorist activities” in Nagorno Karabakh after denouncing the death of two civilians and four soldiers due to the explosion of two anti-personnel mines in the region, amid continuing tensions with Armenia.

Following Baku’s announcement, the Armenian Government has accused Azerbaijan of, “guided by its feeling of impunity”, having unleashed “another large-scale aggression against the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, aimed at completing its policy of ethnic cleansing.”

For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno Karabakh has denounced on its account on the social network with artillery.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on parties to take “the necessary measures to ensure that civilian life and infrastructure are respected, as well as protected, at all times” under Humanitarian Law.

“We are prepared to respond to any increase in the humanitarian needs of the population and continue our ongoing work throughout the region,” the ICRC’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia, Ariane Bauer, stressed in a statement.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have exchanged accusations in recent months of violating the 2020 ceasefire, which ended the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, after that of 1994. The conflict ended with victory for Azerbaijan, which recovered territories taken by Armenia in the first war, including the city of Shusha.

Since then, both countries have maintained various contacts to try to sign a peace agreement, although the talks have encountered obstacles, including the situation around the Lachin corridor, which connects Armenia with the self-proclaimed republic of Arstaj. The area has the presence of Russian soldiers deployed as peacekeepers under the aforementioned ceasefire agreement.