Armenian Health Minister Arsen Torosyan has addressed an open letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The letter reads:
Dear Dr. Ghebreyesus,
I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the military attack of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
Today, when the whole world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, when the international community is mobilizing its efforts to mitigate socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, and when all the leaders, including the UN Secretary-General, are calling for a global ceasefire, the Azerbaijani armed forces, launched large-scale airborne, missile and land attack along the entire line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, targeting civilian settlements, infrastructure, and schools, including in the capital city of Stepanakert resulting in numerous civilian casualties and destruction.
The aggression of Azerbaijan is happening in the midst of the global health crisis which is severely hampering the national, regional and global Covid19 response efforts and facilitating the spread of the virus.
The military attack unleashed by Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and perpetrated with the direct involvement of Turkey and the Turkish-backed foreign terrorist fighters have led to the most intense and destructive escalation in the region since the 1990s. This genocidal Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance brings more destruction and devastation while the COVID-19 pandemic keeps spreading.
Despite the constant shelling of civilian objects, including humanitarian and environmental ones, our medical personnel perform their duty, fighting for the lives of the wounded, including foreign journalists, severely injured as a result of deliberate attacks of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Unfortunately, several medical workers lost their lives while conducting their duty. Even on October 11, when a ceasefire was already declared, Azerbaijan targeted an ambulance transporting the wounded.
Currently, we are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe in the Republic of Artsakh, when civilians are deprived of essential medical services and are horrified by bombings and rocket strikes. The entire peaceful population, including children and the elderly, is under permanent danger to lose their lives and health.
We urge the World Health Organization which is a leading organization involved in the global coordination for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic to take appropriate measures to stop the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the military aggression of Azerbaijan and aggravated by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If this massive military aggression by Azerbaijan continues to target the civilian population and infrastructure in the Nagorno-Karabakh, the international public health community’s ability to protect the most vulnerable people from the virus will be severely compromised.