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Human Rights Organization Labels Artsakh Conflict Genocide Against Arm

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#21 Yervant1

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 07:32 AM

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March 29 2021
 
 
 
Azeri Vandalism to Armenian Church Incites Plea for Protection
 

03/29/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Recent satellite and video footage reveals the partial destruction of Shushi’s Armenian Kanach Zham Church. The city and church now remain under Azeri control. In light of the most recent damaged church, the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) called for the protection of Christian monuments in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Satellite photos taken four months apart, one in October 2020 and one in February 2021, show the church domes completely destroyed. Saint John the Baptist Church, also known as Kanach Zham, reportedly faced partial demolition by Azeri troops just days after Shushi came under their control.

This vandalism against Armenian Christian heritage sites adds to the list including Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Shushi, St. Astvatsatsin Church of Mekhakavan, and others. President Alivey also identified a 12th-century Armenian church to be an Albanian church and expressed his intentions to renovate it.

The IAO Secretary General said in a statement that the Armenian Christians sites now under Azeri control required “immediate registration and protection from the international community and the competent international bodies. We therefore, call on the UN and UNESCO to contribute to the protection of the cultural wealth and monuments of the Armenian people, now under the administration of Azerbaijan and not to allow changes in their use or destruction.”

 


#22 Yervant1

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:03 AM

AHVAL News
April 2 2021
 
 
 
Azerbaijan follows Turkey’s Syria playbook in Nagorno- Karabakh - report
  •  
  • Apr 02 2021 12:04 Gmt+3
  • Last Updated On: Apr 02 2021 12:11 Gmt+3

Azerbaijan is following Turkey’s Syria playbook in seeking to erase the cultural and religious identity of areas recently captured in the disputed Nagorno- Karabakh region, Armenian news outlet Massis Post said on Thursday.

 

 

In September, Azerbaijan launched a successful military offensive against pro-Armenia forces in Nagorno- Karabakh, regaining control of much of the territory, including the second largest settlement of Shusha.

 

 

In a recent visit to the region, Azeri President İlham Aliyev ordered the destruction of “historical inscriptions on the Armenian churches, calling them fake”, the Massis Post said.

 

 

Turkey provided crucial military support to Azerbaijan during the conflict. And the Azeri presence in Nagorno-Karabakh has come to closely resemble the Turkish occupation of the predominantly Kurdish region of Afrin in Syria, the news outlet said.

 

 

Turkey took control of Afrin in March 2018 after a cross-border incursion against Kurdish-led forces known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

 

 

The region is now dominated by Turkish-backed Syrian militia groups, which are accused by the United Nations of atrocities including looting, extortion, and desecration of cultural sites.

 

 

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring group, more than 2,500 Syrian militants were also deployed by Turkey to fight alongside the Azeri armed forces in Nagorno- Karabakh.

 

 

“One could have thought the only goal of sending the Syrian mercenaries to Nagorno-Karabakh was to instruct the Azerbaijanis in the ways of committing war crimes,” Massis Post said.

 

 

Azerbaijan now aims to “make it impossible for the uprooted people to return to their homeland,” the Armenian news outlet said.

 

 

“Ankara has made every effort to achieve this in Syria. Baku must not be allowed to do the same in Armenia.”

 

https://ahvalnews.co...karabakh-report



#23 Yervant1

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:06 AM

Panorama, Armenia
April 2 2021
 
 
 
Azerbaijani atrocities against Artsakh in April 2016 not condemned properly by the international community

Atrocities committed by Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh in April, 2016, have not been condemned properly by the international community, The Artsakh Republic Ombudsman's Office said in a released statement. 

"Azerbaijan used impunity for what it did 4 years later in the fall of 2020 in a large-scale aggression against the Republic of Artsakh and its people together with the Turkish and international terrorist groups, accompanied by gross violations of international humanitarian law, and war crimes against the humanity," according to the document. 

It is noted that throughout the 44-day war, Azerbaijan indiscriminately and deliberately targeted the civilian population and infrastructure of the Republic of Artsakh, tortured and inhumanely treated the prisoners of war and the bodies of the killed servicemen. It is with impunity that Azerbaijan still refuses to repatriate the Armenian prisoners of war, civilian captives and continues to vandalize the Armenian cultural monuments in the areas beyond Artsakh’s control. Azerbaijan’s behavior is the result of the years-long systematic policy of Armenophobia pursued at a state level.

Artsakh Ombudsman is convinced that the regular and gross violations of the international humanitarian law by Azerbaijan both in the April war of 2016 and during the 44-day war, are a matter of serious concern for the entire international community and should receive an adequate response from the international structures and authoritative human rights organizations," said the statement. 

https://www.panorama...Artsakh/2479893



#24 Yervant1

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 07:53 AM

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May 6 2021
 
 
Azerbaijan Commits War Crimes Against Armenians 
 

05/06/2021 Azerbaijan (International Christian Concern) –  According to lawyers at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), 19 Armenian prisoners of war were tortured and killed by Azerbaijani servicemen. Artak Zeynalyan and Siranush Sahakyan, who are representing all Armenian captives, accused Azerbaijan of war crimes and appealed to the ECHR. The list of 19 killed includes 12 civilians and seven servicemen.

Azerbaijan also continues to degrade Armenian heritage through the demolition of religious sites. Photos and videos confirm the vandalism against Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. Angels sitting atop pillars at the main entrance were destroyed and a fence running along the perimeter of the property has been taken down. Just a few days later, photos indicate that the domes had been removed from the church as well.

Satellite imagery also shows the destruction of an Armenian cemetery in Mets Tagher. The site was in use when Armenians evacuated in late 2020. In the same village, not too far away from the destroyed cemetery, sits Surb Amenaprkitch church. Nearby construction appears to be threatening the 175-year-old church as land next to it has been leveled and trucks remain parked in the clearing.

In one incident of justice, two Syrian mercenaries were given life sentences in Armenia for criminal charges including terrorism. The two men, Muhrab Muhammad Al-Shkheir and Yousef Alabed Alhajj, pleaded guilty to the charges that took place during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. According to the court, the Syrians underwent military training from June to September 2020 before being sent to fight. Investigators claim they were recruited by pro-Turkish militant groups to “terrorize civilians” and commit war crimes. In addition to a fixed salary of $2,000, recruiters also promised an additional $100 for every Armenian killed. Some sources report different numbers, but regardless the Turkish-hired mercenaries were given incentives to mutilate or kill Armenians. Both Azerbaijan and Turkey deny the presence of any foreign mercenaries and Azerbaijan responded to the confessions claiming fraud.

Armenians are a predominately Christian community who have suffered multiple genocides because of their combined ethnic-faith identity. The events in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020 were reminiscent of the 1915 genocide which almost eliminated them from their native lands.

 

https://www.persecut...imes-armenians/



#25 Yervant1

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 06:48 AM

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May 17 2021
 
 
U.S. Continues Military Aid to Azerbaijan Despite Ongoing Aggressions Against Armenia
 

05/17/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – The U.S. State Department decided this month that it would continue to allow for the United States to deliver military aid to Azerbaijan, despite its war fought last fall against Armenia. Azerbaijan, alongside Turkish-paid Syrian mercenaries, is documented committing several war crimes against Armenian civilians and soldiers and continues to hold an estimated 200 prisoners of war in violation of the Russian-brokered cease fire agreement.

According to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of 1992, the United States is prohibited from giving such aid to Azerbaijan. However, this Act was amended in 2001 to allow the President to waive this section, which the State Department has done every year since to promote counterterrorism in the region.

Despite the now vast network of counterterrorism resources in the region and the decrease of Al-Qaeda and ISIS activity in the Middle East, the State Department continues to cite counterterrorism as the primary reason for this waiver. Many Armenian groups have advocated for the end to this waiver, arguing that U.S. military equipment could be used against Armenian soldiers or civilians.

President Joe Biden issued a statement during its campaign calling on the Trump administration to end this waiver and ensured that a Biden administration would allow for Section 907 to be fully enforced with respect to Azerbaijan. The recent decision to renew the waiver contradicts this campaign promise.

Armenia, the oldest Christian nation in the world, continues to face threats from its Turkic neighbors. Most recently, Azerbaijani forces advanced into Armenian territory in an effort to expand its own borders and display its military power over Armenia. Many Armenians are fearful of future military aggressions from Turkey and Azerbaijan and do not want the United States to be complicit in such a violent campaign.

 

https://www.persecut...ssions-armenia/



#26 Yervant1

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 06:22 AM

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May 22 2021

 

 
Azerbaijan Uses Armenian Gravestones To Build Roads

 

05/22/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Azerbaijan is utilizing gravestones from Armenian cemeteries as building material, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Artsakh, David Babayan. Azerbaijan continues to deface and destroy Armenian Christian heritage sites, including cemeteries and churches, as they seek to eradicate evidence of their culture and identity.

Cemeteries in Hadrut have been destroyed, as seen by satellite images. Reports now indicate that those gravestones are being used as building material in areas of Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) and particularly for the building of new roads.

Babayan commented saying, “This is another manifestation of cultural genocide; barbarism with a political purpose. They are not only completely destroying the Armenian trace, but they are also using it for economic purposes. By building such infrastructures, the Azerbaijanis make it much more difficult to restore it in the future. This is a gross violation of international and moral norms.”


https://www.persecut...es-build-roads/
 


#27 Yervant1

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 06:10 AM

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June 30 2021
 
 
Azerbaijan’s Ongoing Crimes Against Armenian Captives By Uzay Bulut  
 

06/30/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Nine months after Azerbaijan’s genocidal invasion of the Armenian Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in the South Caucuses, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, which militarily aided Azerbaijan during last year’s invasion campaign, recently visited the city of Shushi.

During a trip across the city, Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and Erdogan’s wife, Emine Erdogan, were caught on tape bragging about holding Armenian hostages. In the recording, which was widely shared on social media, Mrs. Erdogan asks Aliyev if Azerbaijan still has Armenian prisoners.

Aliyev joyfully confirms. Mrs. Erdogan laughs, praises Allah and responds happily by suggesting Aliyev to deal with or release the captives “step by step/gradually.”

Turkey and Azerbaijan are thus publicly celebrating the massive destruction they have mutually brought upon Christian Armenians. From September 27 to November 10, 2020, Azerbaijan – with the full support of Turkey and Syrian jihadist mercenaries – unleashed a murderous war against the indigenous Armenian land of Artsakh. For 44 days, they indiscriminately bombed it and committed many war crimes against the population there. They murdered thousands of Armenians and displaced about 100,000 from their homes.

Anahit Khosroeva, a genocide scholar and historian, said that the aggressive war by the Azeri-Turkish alliance against Artsakh is a continuation of the 1915 Armenian Genocide:

“The war by Azerbaijan and Turkey against Artsakh is an act of ethnic cleansing. It was an excuse for Erdogan to continue the Armenian Genocide that he aggressively denies. Throughout the war, Turkey gave full military and political support to Azerbaijan and Erdogan was encouraging Aliyev to escalate Azeri aggression against Armenians. Their goal was and still is to achieve pan-Turkism to unite the so-called ‘Turkic world’ and they see the existence of Armenia and Artsakh as an obstacle before their imperialistic goals.”

Khosroeva refers to the fall of Shushi as “a historic event.” She says,

“For 300 hundred years Ottoman sultans and the Young Turks, who committed the Armenian genocide, wanted to capture Shushi, a mountainous fortress, from Armenians. The city has major strategic significance in the region. And unfortunately, they managed to capture the city by committing many war crimes against Armenians. This is further signal that they will continue trying to expand their territorial gains by military force, bringing further destruction and instability to the region.”

During the war, many videos were posted on social media showing Azerbaijani soldiers mutilating, beheading and committing other acts of torture and inhumane treatment against Armenians, including both servicemen and civilians.

The organization Democracy Today has documented these war crimes. The report details Azeri attacks on civil population, children, journalists, members of humanitarian missions, and religious, cultural, and educational institutions and civil property, as well as torture, and inhuman treatment of civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). It also gives comprehensive information about the recruitment of mercenaries by Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as the use of drones and weapons of mass destruction against Armenians in the region.

The ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia and signed on November 9 by Azerbaijan and Armenia suspended the 44-day aggression of Turkey-Azerbaijan alliance against Artsakh.

Article 8 of the agreement requires both Armenia and Azerbaijan to release all POWs. Azerbaijan has not revealed the actual number of the captives, but Armenian rights advocates estimate that around 200 Armenian POWs have still not been released by Azerbaijan. While Armenia has fulfilled this requirement, Aliyev’s government is still proudly violating the agreement and the international law by refusing to release the captives.

The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 states that “Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.” The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment and the European Convention on Human Rights also prohibit torture altogether.

On April 22, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on Azerbaijan to release Armenian POWs and other captives “without delay.”

Nonetheless, their calls fell on deaf ears. Azerbaijan still brands the Armenian captives as “terrorists.” The captives that Aliyev and Mrs. Erdogan mocked in Shushi have been illegally held, sentenced to prison, tortured and in some cases, murdered, by Azerbaijan. In May, for instance, lawyers Artak Zeynalyan and Siranush Sahakyan said that Azerbaijani servicemen tortured and killed 19 Armenian prisoners.

J.H. Seymour, reporting for the news website Asbarez, states that “several Armenian POWs have been tortured to death in captivity. One of them was 18-year-old Eric Mkhitaryan, missing since October. Video recording of Eric captured and abused by Azerbaijani soldiers was circulating on social media back in November. After six months of ordeal and identification process, Eric’s remains were returned to his family on April 8.”

The Ad Hoc Report by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia also revealed many cases of torture and mistreatment of Armenian civilians and soldiers while in captivity in Azerbaijan. These violations include but are not limited to beating, humiliating the captives to induce false statements and physical torture, sometimes resulting in death. The report also gives many examples, some of which include:

“A civilian captive Sedrak Petrosyan, who was returned on 10th of December, confessed that he was drugged, severely beaten and also subjected to mental torture as he was told that his son is [sic] killed and the dogs were fed with his dead body.”

“An eyewitness, Yevgeniya Babayan, who was released from captivity, also confirmed the beatings of civilians. In a police station, she saw two other Armenians, one of them a young man with civilian clothing. That young man was blindfolded and had his hands and feet tied together. He was thrown into the corner of the room, and Azerbaijani soldiers took turns in kicking him in different parts of his body. The next day, when Babayan was being taken out of the police station, she saw that the young man was put in a sack and was being dragged to a car. She was also told that they had butchered and beheaded the two foregoing Armenians.”

One of the captives, Vicken Euljekian, a Lebanese-Armenian, has recently been sentenced to 20 years in prison by Azerbaijan. Asbarez reported that he was accused of “being a terrorist and a mercenary and illegally entering Azerbaijan.”

“Euljekjian, who has dual Armenian and Lebanese citizenships, was found guilty after a short trial condemned by Armenia’s government and human rights groups as a travesty of justice,” Asbarez added.

“Liparit Drmeyan, an aide to Armenia’s representative to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), said Euljekjian did not have access to lawyers chosen by him and the Azerbaijani authorities failed to substantiate the charges leveled against him. Drmeyan said the Armenian government will appeal against the verdict in the Strasbourg-based court. ‘We are convinced that Azerbaijan has violated Vicken Euljekjian’s rights,’ he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.”

On June 11, Seymour reported for Asbarez on Euljekjian’s family’s efforts to help him be released from captivity, as well as the short message he recently sent to his family. He wrote:

“Mama, it is me, Vicken, say hello to everyone, to Serj, Tina, my brothers, tell everyone I am fine.’ This heart-wrenching message, written by Vicken Euljekjian, a Lebanese-Armenian currently being held prisoner in Azerbaijan, was delivered by the Red Cross weeks later to his distraught mother, digin (madam in Armenian) Beatrice in Beirut, after being meticulously checked and translated by the Azerbaijani authorities. In fact, there was not much to translate. Nevertheless, this short note meant a lot to Vicken’s distressed family hoping for some good news yet fearing the worst since his capture in November 2020.”

“Vicken is one of four brothers born on July 12, 1979 in Beirut to an Armenian family of Genocide survivors. As the Lebanese economy has been deteriorating year by year, Vicken decided to relocate to Armenia to start a small business and subsequently bring his children from Beirut. Obtaining Armenian citizenship in 2015, he permanently moved to Yerevan in November 2019, and purchased a 7-seater vehicle running sightseeing tours for visitors.”

“There is no legal ground to detain Vicken by Azerbaijani authorities, and he should have never been captured in the first place on 10 November 2020. Vicken’s teenage daughter Christine – currently on the verge of health breakdown – is appealing for her father’s safe return home.”

“Euljekjan must be released immediately,” human rights lawyer Garo Ghazarian said, and then continued:

“Let no one sugarcoat what has now taken place in Baku. They held a sham trial to ‘convict’ Euljekjan. This, against the backdrop of Erdogan’s assistance during 44 days of carnage unleashed onto the civilian population of Artsakh, who openly provided the Azerbaijani forces with aid by Turkish-backed foreign mercenaries, many of whom with recognized ties to international terrorist groups. To put it mildly, this is an insult to the world order by both Erdogan and Aliyev.”

“The fact that 9 months after the ceasefire, Azerbaijan continues to illegally hold Armenian civilians as POWs, ignores its obligations to implement the requirements of the ceasefire agreement entered into on November 9th, is a blatant violation of international law.”

“This outrageous stance is entirely due to Europe, Russia, and the United States thus far having done nothing other than paying lip service on the matter.”

“The world community is long overdue on imposing targeted economic sanctions, and to be clear, not only onto Azerbaijan, but also onto its sponsor, Turkey. All aid and trade of any sort, military or economic must be halted until all Armenian POWs and civilian detainees are released from Azerbaijani custody.”

“Erdogan and Aliyev have violated international law without impunity and until significant action is taken to hold them accountable, they will continue to get away with murder and mayhem, and yes, they will even get away with their genocidal intent against Armenians.”

“Absent crippling sanctions, Turkey and its proxy Azerbaijan will continue to destabilize the region by their violation of human rights in defiance to all norms and international standards. Their rogue choices must have dire consequences if these hostile activities are to end.”

“Absent the harshest consequences being meted out by the international community, Azerbaijani soldiers will continue to occupy border areas in Armenia’s southern Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces, now more than seven months after the November 9th ceasefire.”

“The United Nations and the European Union must condemn Azerbaijan, must impose sanctions onto both Azerbaijan and Turkey, and they must insist on the immediate release of Armenian detainees and POWs from Azerbaijani custody.”

As the organization Democracy Today notes in its recent report:

“We keep repeating ‘Never Again’! But failure to recognize these crimes and bring perpetrators to justice enables the development and perpetuation of a culture of impunity and in the multiplication of patterns of these crimes of genocide in many parts of the world: Rohingya in Myanmar, Nuer, and other ethnic groups in South Sudan, Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic, Darfuris in Sudan and still many, many others.

“Can the world turn a blind eye to genocides and ethnic and cultural cleansing taking place today?”

Sadly, the world turns a blind eye even when the perpetrators – Azerbaijan and Turkey – publicly make fun of the crimes they have been committing in Artsakh. That means we will most likely continue hearing more news of Armenian captives tortured, executed, or illegally sentenced to prison in Azerbaijan as many Armenians are desperately waiting for the return of their family members.

__

About the author: Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara. Her writings have appeared in The Washington Times, The American Conservative, The Christian Post, The Jerusalem Post, and Al-Ahram Weekly. Her work focuses mainly on human rights, Turkish politics and history, religious minorities in the Middle East, and antisemitism.

 

https://www.persecut...enian-captives/  



#28 Yervant1

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 07:52 AM

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July 8 2021
 
 
 
Azeris, Turks Phone Armenians in Artsakh Threatening Homeland
 
 

07/08/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Nearly 8 months after the ceasefire that brought an end to the 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) War, the hostilities are far from over. According to the National Security Service (NSS), Armenian citizens living in Artsakh are receiving phone calls from Azerbaijani and Turkish citizens who offer to buy their property along with threats of losing their homeland.

The NSS urged locals to avoid answering these calls and to report them right away. They also indicated that the phone calls from Turkey and Azerbaijan were meant to incite fear and uncertainty about the future and safety of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Threats against the livelihoods and homes of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh continue as Turkey and Azerbaijan seek to manipulate the region for gain.



#29 Yervant1

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 07:20 AM

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July 25 2021
 
 
Armenian Church Threatened in Nagorno-Karabakh
 

07/25/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Holy Mother of God Church (St. Astvatsatsin) is being threatened with destruction, located in Taghavard, Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh). In just over one month, between June 10 and July 12, a large swath of the village was destroyed. The current bulldozed section reaches just outside the church.

St. Astvatsatsin Church was built in 1840 and was a Christian heritage site for the Armenian population prior to the fall 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Caucasus Heritage Watch, which monitors and reports via satellite images, called on the Azerbaijani authorities to protect the church and cease the bulldozing of Taghavard.

St. Astbatsatsin is one of several historic Armenian churches facing potential destruction in Artsakh, including Ghazanchetsots cathedral, after Azeri forces began to clear the region of any Christian history.

 

https://www.persecut...gorno-karabakh/



#30 Yervant1

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Posted 06 August 2021 - 09:44 AM

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Aug 5 2021
 
 
Armenia: Genocide in Plain Sight
 
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08/05/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Artsakh (internationally recognized as Nagorno-Karabakh) is a tiny region the size of Delaware that lies between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Despite its size, this region has been hotly contested by the two countries for decades, stemming back to divisions made during the era of the Soviet Union. Last year, with Turkey’s backing, Azerbaijan launched a surprise attack on the region and captured most of the territory from Armenia.

Due to its small size and seemingly insignificant players, the world yawned, and the question inevitably follows, so what?

Armenia was the first nation to accept Christianity, making it the oldest Christian nation in the world. Despite this, due to Ottoman (Muslim) conquests, Armenia quickly became surrounded by Islamic nations hostile toward Christianity. That hostility reached its zenith in 1915 when Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) sought to wipe out Armenia’s Christians. They killed off all of the fighting-aged men and violently drove the women and children of the nation off their lands into long death marches.

It was a calculated genocide.

When the dust settled, 1.5 million Armenian Christians were dead, and much of the country dispersed throughout the world. Fast-forward to today. The Ottoman Empire is now modern-day Turkey. While Turkey was a moderate Islamic country for decades, its government was secular. That all changed with the rise of President Erdogan.

Erdogan was elected as a moderate reformer to fix Turkey’s corrupt government. Instead, once he gained power, he destroyed all opposition against him in the military, the press, and the judicial branch. Then, he changed the constitution to make himself president for life.

With his power secured, he has made it clear that he is a radical Islamist with expansionist dreams. He sees it as his destiny to rebuild the Ottoman Empire with himself sitting at the head of a new caliphate. In his speeches and the symbolism he uses to convey his messages, it’s obvious that he is and will be at war with Christians in his region.

He was instrumental in building up and sustaining ISIS fighters in the war in Syria. He has used those fighters in Libya.

As a Christian nation, Armenia is a thorn in his side, and their control of the Artsakh region is seen as a stain on Islam since it was formerly controlled by Muslim Azerbaijan.

So, Artsakh was targeted. Azerbaijan, with Erdogan’s aid, attacked. Historically, fights between Armenia and Azerbaijan were relatively even. But this time, Erdogan provided air support and hired and transported ISIS fighters to the battle.

Armenian forces were overwhelmed and did not stand a chance against the pressures surrounding them.

Armenians lost much more than territory. Azeri forces destroyed numerous Christian heritage sites, dating back to Christianity’s first appearance in the nation.

They also savaged Christian civilians, using tactics even harsher than traditional ISIS methods.

These elements are eerily reminiscent of tactics used by Ottoman conquerors during the genocide of 1915 when Turkey sought to wipe out Christian Armenia.

We are now witnessing another genocide happen to the oldest Christian nation right before our eyes—yet the world remains silent.

So what?

The decimation of Artsakh and the attack on the world’s oldest Christian nation may be a signal event. For those with ears to listen, we urge you to focus on this region.

Something extremely dangerous is growing with extremely important geopolitical implications. Today it was Artsakh. Tomorrow will be genocide if we stay silent.

https://www.persecut...de-plain-sight/



#31 Yervant1

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Posted 13 August 2021 - 07:36 AM

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Aug 12 2021
 
 
 
Azerbaijan Blocks Water To Stepanakert, Other Nagorno-Karabakh Regions
 
 

08/12/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Stepanakert and other regions of Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) have been without water for nearly a week according to local sources. The primary water source, a major levee, has been blocked by Azerbaijan, causing an emergency water shortage. As temperatures soar in Stepanakert and Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenians suffer from the newest threat against them.

In late 2020, Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, launched a military initiative against Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Since Azerbaijan’s victory occupying forces have repeatedly worked to demolish and deface the remnants of Armenian’s Christian heritage in the area.

Azerbaijan has also violated Armenia’s sovereign borders and reportedly fired on Armenian troop positions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenians, a historically Christian people, are facing persecution in multiple avenues as Azerbaijan threatens their physical safety and wellbeing, in addition to their cultural and historical sites.

 

https://www.persecut...rabakh-regions/



#32 Yervant1

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 08:20 AM

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Aug 22 2021
 
 
Syrian Mercenaries In Nagorno-Karabakh Perpetuate Demand For Jihadist Fighters
 

08/22/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – More than a year after the recruitment of Syrian mercenaries to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) began, the question of long-term, regional effects still remains. Syrian mercenaries, recruited by Turkey and Azerbaijan to fight on behalf of Azerbaijan against Armenia, were paid $2,000 USD per month. Though the “salary” was less than those recruited for Libya, the amount was still large for Syrians. An estimated 1,000 militants were deployed after being recruited from Syrian terrorist networks.

What happened to those mercenaries following the end of the war is unknown exactly. Some report that a large portion of Syrian mercenaries were killed in action and some have returned home. But some may have stayed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. And with these foreign fighters comes their propensity for violence in a fragile peace agreement.

The Syrian fighters received training and real-life war to practice and hone their abilities. Those who survived and have gone home brought back with them the skills to present for the next time Syrians are recruited as mercenaries. This “career mercenary” option, hopping from conflict to conflict, perpetuates the demand and supply cycle of jihadist fighters in war.

Syrian mercenaries and Azeri forces alike committed war crimes against Armenians during the 44-day war last fall. International Christian Concern (ICC) joins others in calling for accountability and justice for the crimes against humanity committed during and after the war.

https://www.persecut...adist-fighters/

 


#33 Yervant1

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 08:15 AM

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Sept 12 2021
 
 
From 1915 to 2021, Armenian Communities Suffer
 
  By ICC’s Country Correspondent
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09/12/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Mrs. Alvard was the gardener of the only school in the village of Nor Verinshen in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh), currently occupied by Azerbaijanis. Her son Robert was on military duty when the war started in late September of 2020. While Robert fought on the frontline against Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression for 44 days, Mrs. Alvard moved with her daughter-in-law, Aregnazan, and six young grandchildren to Armenian territory. This current displacement is the second during her lifetime, with the first was in the late 1980s before the first Artsakh war.

In the beginning, relatives welcomed the family and provided their two-bedroom condo to stay in, along with other displaced family members, totaling 21 people. At that time everyone thought it was temporary, the war will finish in a few days or weeks, and shortly they will move back home. Mrs. Alvard naively recalls counting down the days to get back to her beautiful green garden at peak harvest season.

November 10’s agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan that ended the war broke all the hopes of family return home permanently. A few days before handing over their district to Azerbaijanis (originally scheduled for November 15, but surrendered on November 25), Aregnazan went back to the village with her husband’s sister where she first visited the graves of her father and sister in the cemetery, likely for the very last time. “I could not bring much of the household items, but I didn’t want to leave the puppy, the ducks, and the chickens behind. I put all of them together in a big rabbit cage and brought them with me,” Aregnazan said.

36-year-old Aregnazan’s voice trembled as she recalled her final journey from Artsakh to Armenia. Crying and unable to hide her tears she remembered, “it looked like the 1915 deportation during the Armenian Genocide with only one difference – people were moving by vehicles not walking. The roads were blocked by traffic. There were cars that were damaged on the roads. The women, with their children in their arms, were waiting in that cold weather outside until the cars were repaired. Some cars were totally unloaded their cargo on road to be repaired. It was chaos, a real nightmare.”

“It looked like the 1915 deportation during the Armenian Genocide with only one difference – people were moving by vehicles not walking. The roads were blocked by traffic. There were cars that were damaged on the roads. The women, with their children in their arms, were waiting in that cold weather outside until the cars were repaired. Some cars were totally unloaded their cargo on road to be repaired. It was chaos, a real nightmare."

After 10 months of moving from place to place, the family finally bought their own house with small agricultural land and fruit trees in one of the villages. The Armenian community in the Netherlands and a family from the U.S. contributed the difference sum in addition to Aregnazan and Robert’s savings.

There is still a lot of work to be done to renovate the house. To accommodate their space restrictions, part of the living room has curtains closing off a portion for the children’s room. Their roof is in desperate need of repair. In the future, the adjacent garage could be turned into rooms. They lack several household appliances and electronics, but Aregnazan does not complain. She is happy to have their own place. The family is optimistic and ready to start their new life from scratch.

In their new garden, the beehives are placed at trees. Robert, who was united with his family after the war, says they belong to his friend but together they will share the honey. The family puppy guards the beehives with pride.

We will do agriculture work. The kids will attend the school. My 14-year-old daughter is happy; finally, she is not going to change the schools (during the last year she changed 4 of them). My 6-year-old son hasn’t gone to school after the war interrupted his first year three weeks class in Artsakh”, says Aregnaz with a sad smile on her face. She often smiles because realizes that her smile also strengthens her children.

Certainly, the family misses and remembers often their old house in Artsakh where they were happy. Aregnazan misses her two pianos she left behind. For years she used to work in the cultural club of their village where they always used to host concerts. All her kids played musical instruments as well. Like a proud mother, she opens her phone and shows the last video of her children play at Dadivank monastery last year. The family never loses hope and still believes and prays that one day they will go back home to Artsakh.

https://www.persecut...1/09/12/126870/



#34 Yervant1

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:58 AM

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Sept 10 2021
 
 
Azerbaijan Threatens Bodily Security of POWs and Cultural Security of Christian Landmarks
 

09/10/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Though a ceasefire was signed 10 months ago after a 44-day war, Azerbaijan continues to persecute Armenians, particularly Prisoners of War (POWs). Two Armenian POWs were released on September 7 by Azerbaijan after the soldiers went missing near the border in July. In exchange, Armenia released an Azerbaijani serviceman who was arrested in Nagorno-Karabakh at the end of August.

Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan spoke at a press conference regarding the POW exchange, commented on the brutality of the Azerbaijani military against the Armenians held captive. Ombudsman Tatoyan specifically mentioned the religious freedom violations committed when the crosses of Armenians were taken away forcefully. They attempted to coerce them away from their Armenian heritage by making anti-Armenian and pro-Azeri comments.

Tatoyan also outlined the harsh physical and psychological torture they endured, including the withholding of food and medical care. There were reports of food being tossed on the ground to be eaten or Armenian POWs only having 10 seconds to eat before the rest would be thrown away. Azerbaijani servicemen also would press on wounds until prisoners begged for food or medical care and in some instances, the POWs then faced humiliation in public hospitals. In a particularly gruesome case, one POW was stripped naked and had servicemen pour boiling water on his body and was subsequently beaten, leaving him unable to walk for 21 days.

In addition to threatening the bodily safety of Armenians, Azerbaijan also threatens the countries heritage and Christian values. According to Caucasus Heritage Watch, more than a dozen Armenian churches, cemeteries, cross-stones (Armenian: khachkars), and other cultural sites have been destroyed, damaged, or threatened by Azerbaijan. The majority of the incidents occurred after the ceasefire and take place on land previously inhabited by Armenians before the war. Sushi and its surrounding area and the southern portion of Nagorno-Karabakh have suffered the majority of desecration. Particularly in the south where new roads are being established, Armenian cemeteries are threatened.

 

https://www.persecut...tian-landmarks/

 


#35 Yervant1

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 08:20 AM

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Sept 19 2021
 
Turkey’s Link Between Afghanistan and Nagorno-Karabakh
 

09/19/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – Reports indicate that Turkey and Azerbaijan may be in the process of relocating Afghan terrorists into the Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) region. Al-Qaeda militants are reportedly part of Turkey’s efforts to utilize mercenaries in regional disputes, such as Syrian terrorists in the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“In the occupied parts of Nagorno-Karabakh there are already a lot of international terrorist groups controlled by Turkey that are out of Azerbaijani control. This way Turkey is strengthening its position in Azerbaijan,” Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign Minister, David Babayan told news.am. Turkey has also recently established a command center in Baku, allowing it to leverage its position in the country. Turkey’s role in Afghanistan remains to be seen, though it is clear that Turkey is interested in a relationship with the Taliban but does not want to accept any of the country’s refugees.



#36 Yervant1

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 06:54 AM

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Sept 22 2021
 
 
Azerbaijani Officers Deface Transportation Bearing Armenian Flags
 

09/22/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Video footage confirms Azerbaijani policemen defacing Armenian transportation traveling along the Goris-Kapan road. One video shows a tractor-trailer traveling through, with the back of the vehicle covered in a map of the local regional countries, including Azerbaijan. An Azerbaijani policeman is seen cutting the Armenian flag and the word “Armenia” off with a knife, sending the message that the country is not welcome and not recognized.

An armed Azerbaijani policeman at a checkpoint along Goris-Kapan road is seen harassing an Armenian civilian bus in a second video clip. Officers stopped the transport bus on the side of the road and, using a knife, scraped off a Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) flag that had been placed on the side. The bus was transporting several children at the time and video footage shows Azerbaijani officers opening up the doors, looking inside, and speaking with the children. Some of the boys traveling inside appeared shaken being in such close contact with armed Azerbaijani servicemen.

Azerbaijan’s harassment of Armenians, Armenian transportation, and Armenian emblems is further evidence of the country’s unwillingness to pursue peace with their neighbor, even as the one-year anniversary of the start of the 44-day war approaches.

https://www.persecut...armenian-flags/



#37 MosJan

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:11 AM

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#38 Yervant1

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 09:26 AM

Caucasian Knot, EU
Sept 23 2021
 
 
US Congress demands from Baku to release Armenian prisoners
 
 
 

The US Congress has passed an amendment demanding an immediate release of all Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) and civilians kept by Azerbaijan, as well as conducting an inquiry into the use of American technologies in Turkish drones that were used during the 2020 escalation of the Karabakh conflict.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on September 16, Armenia filed a complaint with the UN International Court of Justice with a demand to oblige Azerbaijani authorities to stop torturing and killing Armenian POWs and compensate for human rights violations.

Azerbaijan admits that it is holding 45 Armenian citizens, while the Armenian party possesses data about 280 POWsArtak Zeinalyan, a human rights defender, asserts.

The amendment posted on the US Congress' website recalls that Azerbaijan had joined the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of POWs, but continues holding about 200 Armenian POWs. The authors of the amendment referred to the December 2020 Human Rights Watch's report that claimed ill-treatment of Armenian POWs.

The amendment emphasizes that Azerbaijan fails to provide reliable information about Armenian POWs and civilians.

The document also calls for investigating the use of white phosphorus, cluster bombs and prohibited ammunition against the Karabakh population, as well as the recruitment of foreign terrorists to participate in military operations.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 23, 2021 at 03:37 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Armine MartirosyanSource: CK correspondent

Source: https://www.eng.kavk...articles/56820/
© Caucasian Knot



#39 Yervant1

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 09:29 AM

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Washington, D.C. - Five decisive human rights and accountability amendments were adopted en bloc as part of the overall National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, known as bill H.R. 4350, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
 
In the aftermath of last Fall’s 44-day war launched by Azerbaijan with the full support of Turkey against the Armenian people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the Assembly strongly advocated for and welcomed passage of the following amendments:
 
  • Amendment #21 sponsored by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), and cosponsored by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Dina Titus (D-NV): This amendment "creates a report on Azerbaijan's activities in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020 to be submitted to the relevant congressional committees by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State. Also expresses the Sense of Congress that the government of Azerbaijan should immediately return all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians. Urges the Administration to engage with Azerbaijani authorities, including through the OSCE Minsk Group, to make clear the importance of adhering to their obligations under the November 9 statement and international law to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians."
 
  • Amendment #278 sponsored by House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA), and cosponsored by Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Norma Torres (D-CA), and Don Beyer (D-VA): This amendment "modifies the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Subtitle F of title XXI of PL 114-328) to authorize sanctions for serious human rights abuse, any violation of internationally recognized human rights, or corruption; adds two new reports to Congress; and repeals the sunset."
 
  • Amendment #325 sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and cosponsored by Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA): This amendment "requires a report from the Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary of State, addressing allegations that some units of foreign countries that have participated in security cooperation programs under section 333 of title 10, U.S.C. may have also committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights before or while receiving U.S. security assistance. This report also includes recommendations to improve human rights training and additional measures that can be adopted to prevent these types of violations."
 
  • Amendment #431 sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), and cosponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA): This amendment "requires a report by the Secretary of State on the activities of the Grey Wolves organization (AKA Bozkurtlar & Ülkü Ocaklari) undertaken against U.S. interests, allies, and international partners, including a review of the criteria met for designation as a foreign terrorist organization."
 
  • Amendment #449 sponsored by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), and cosponsored by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Susan Wild (D-PA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Katie Porter (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), David Schweikert (R-AZ), David Trone (D-MD), and Don Beyer (D-VA): This amendment "requires a report within 180 days of all US humanitarian and developmental assistance programs in Nagorno Karabakh, including an analysis of the effectiveness of such programs and any plans for future assistance."
 
Speaking in support of his amendment (#325), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated on the House floor that countries that violate human rights, such as Azerbaijan, which received over $100 million dollars in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, along with "equipment and training from the U.S. military," and launched "a deadly attack against Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh on September 27 that led to the death of thousands and the displacement of so many more," should not receive U.S. funding.
 
"Passage of this amendment sends a clear signal that the U.S. takes seriously its democratic norms and commitment to peace by ensuring oversight of our security assistance," said Rep. Pallone, noting that in the future there will be "restraint from aiding and tolerating similar regimes, especially when their actions are aimed at destabilizing a fellow democracy."
 
Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny stated: "Taken together, these amendments represent a significant step forward in upholding human rights and demanding accountability for violations thereof. We also continue to call for the full enforcement of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act in the face of Azerbaijan's ongoing aggression against the Armenian people."
 
Ardouny added: "We welcome in particular the language calling for the immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war being held by Azerbaijan as well as the new reporting requirements, including future funding plans to help the people of Artsakh."
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


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#40 Yervant1

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 06:45 AM

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Sept 27 2021
 
Churches in a Siege: Armenians Alert about the Threat against Millennia-old Christian Sites
 
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By Haykaram Nahapetyan

09/27/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In the early morning of December 27th of 2020, about 1.5 months after the combats in Nagorno-Karabakh (historic Artsakh) ceased, a caravan of SUV cars left Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno Karabakh, embarking on a challenging trip to Dadivank monastery. An Armenian couple under the protection of Russia’s peacekeepers was planning marriage at this historical site, which Azerbaijani soldiers now surrounded.

A key Christian monastery of the area, Dadivank is also one of the most precious sites of early Christianity: the grave of St. Dadi, a disciple of St. Thaddeus is located here, according to existing information. If you have ever wondered why the traditional Armenian Church is called “Apostolic,” here is the reason: as Armenian chroniclers suggest, Christ’s two apostles, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartolomeo brought the emerging religion to Armenia shortly after the Crucifixion. One of them, disciple Dadi, was buried at Dadivank, where a church was built later.

“I wanted to marry at Dadivank,” said Aram Verdian when we sat down at one of Stepnakert’s main cafes for a brief interview. “I wanted to highlight that the Christian-Armenian traditions here did not cease to exist. A new marriage, a new family and, with God’s blessing, children to come – all these symbolize that the life in Artsakh continues.”

For background info: exactly one hundred years ago, the Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh (historically known as the Armenian region of Artsakh) and its millennia-old Christian heritage were handed over to Turkic Azerbaijan by Soviet dictator Stalin who back then was in charge of Nationality Affairs in the first Bolshevik government.

“Though we do not know the full extent of the reasons for the transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Joseph Stalin, we are fairly certain that the decision was arbitrary, circumventing, or rather disregarding both the ethnoreligious background of region’s inhabitants and their popular will,” says Dr. Artyom Tonoyan, a research associate at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Near the end of Soviet rule, in the late 1980s, the Armenians of NK attempted to withdraw from Soviet Azerbaijan and reunite with the neighboring Soviet Armenian Republic. Public rallies in NK were followed by massacres of Armenians in various settlements of Soviet Azerbaijan. After the USSR collapsed in 1991, the hostilities turned into full-scale war.

By 1993, the NK Armenians established control over the area of Dadivank and eventually attempted to rebuild the site. The somewhat slow-motion restoration advanced between 2015-2018 as the new road running beside the temple brought more tourists and pilgrims to the area. However, last year, on this day of September 27th, the Azerbaijani attack supported by Turkey and mercenaries from the Middle East resulted in the loss of Dadivank altogether with many other religious sites. Russia’s peacekeepers came to the area in November. Now it’s them protecting this precious temple, with a growing number of Azerbaijani troops deployed in the vicinity.

Aram Verdian says the last war highlighted how a coalition of radical forces can attack an isolated Christian community in the 21st century. “The support of the Christian world that we received was mainly limited to statements of goodwill. We largely remained by ourselves against mighty powers, including mercenaries and Turkey’s soldiers. Does this mean we are disappointed in our Christian faith? No. To me, the last war highlighted the importance of surviving in a siege,” Aram continued.

As it has been reported earlier, International Christian Concern dispatched a crew for a field study to Artsakh last May. They met locals, the authorities and released a report shortly after the return. ICC’s observations are in line with what Aram told me. “Quite often, we were met with wordless grief as residents struggled to understand why they were left alone in their hardships and how it is that they have come to be surrounded by Turkic nations (Azerbaijan and Turkey) who seek only their complete annihilation,” highlighted ICC’s fact-finding mission. Referring to Nagorno-Karabakh as “an isolated enclave of Christianity,” ICC identifies the Azerbaijani-Turkic current policy against Artsakh as a “continuation of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

According to ICC’s regional manager Claire Evans, Azerbaijan wants nothing less than the total destruction of the Armenian people, and “they are attempting to justify those actions by rewriting history (which means destroying Armenian heritage sites).”

“President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev does to the Christian heritage of Artsakh what Recep Erdogan did to Hagia Sophia temple in Turkey: they Islamize or distort the Christian heritage,” Bishop Vertanes, the religious leader of Artsakh, said when we met at the diocese center. He alerted me that the archive of the Church of Artsakh remained in the currently occupied historical town of Shushi. BBC highlighted that a church in the southern area was razed to the ground.

It is still unclear how many Christian sites were lost to Azerbaijanis due to the War: it depends on what you count as Christian sites. According to a database prepared by Armenian-American historian from Tufts University Christina Maranci, the number can go as high as 4041 if we count everything from churches to gravestones. Otherwise, as Artsakh’s religious and political authorities say, there have been 13 cathedrals, 22 churches, four chapels, over 500 crosstones. *

“We have reports that Armenian gravestones are used to construct a highway in the occupied area of Hadrut,” David Babayan, the Foreign Minister, stated. This is not the first time that they have destroyed our gravestones, the Minister added.

Babayan, a native of NK himself, refers to the tragic precedent of the medieval Armenian gravestones that the Azerbaijanis had destroyed in the Nakhichevan region. The United States Commission for the International Religious Freedom referred to this act of vandalism in its 2015 report. Babayan highlighted that Azerbaijan’s authorities impose a growing number of restrictions on Armenian pilgrims who want to visit Dadivank.

“In the first weeks following the end of the combats, almost 100 pilgrims were able to visit this site each week. Now the number is down by about ten times,” the Minister said.

Artsakh’s foreign ministry is trying to draw the attention of international organizations to the conditions of the Christian heritage in NKR. So does the Armenian Church, which organized a conference in Armenia earlier this month. Armenian American community and the Embassy of Armenia to the United States have been in touch with the Bible Museum of Washington, D.C. to arrange a virtual exhibit dedicated to the Christian Armenian heritage of Artsakh. Jeffrey Kloha, the chief curatorial officer of the Museum, set up an online exhibition“Ancient Faith: The Churches of Nagorno-Karabakh,” to alert about the existing situation. “We are alerting about seven notable Christian sites in Karabakh that need to be preserved,” said Mr. Kloha when we communicated.

While this report was being prepared, new images depicting severe destructions of the Green Church of Shushi became available on public domains. A soldier, presumably related to Azerbaijani forces, is posing in front of a half-destroyed Christian monument. This area was fully renovated before the last attack took place.

_____

Haykaram Nahapetyan is the U.S. reporter for Armenia’s First channel. He is a Ph.D. student at Liberty University in Virginia.

*Characteristic of medieval and contemporary Armenian art, cross-stones or khachkars represent a carved stele bearing a cross, often with additional motifs and ornaments.

 

https://www.persecut...hes-in-a-siege/







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