NEW YORK — The United Nations has a distinct responsibility to prevent grave violations and to safeguard the physical security of children in all parts of the world, including in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s permanent Representative to the UN Mher Margaryan said at a UN Security Council Open Debate, entitled “Children and Armed Conflict.”

In Nagorno-Karabakh, since 12 December 2022, the civilian population have become victim of an inhumane blockade by Azerbaijan, the imposition of which has severely affected the rights and livelihoods of those most vulnerable, the children, the Ambassador noted.

“As we speak, the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor, in violation of the existing legal obligations and the order of International Court of Justice, continues to endanger the lives of innocent people in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Margaryan stated.

“For almost seven months, families with children have been suffering from critical shortages of essential goods, including food, fuel and medical supplies. The humanitarian situation is further exacerbated by complete disruption of gas and electricity. 118 schools had to suspend their activities due to weather conditions, depriving 20,000 children of their right to education, including early education, with pre-schools no longer operational due to food insecurities, affecting more than 6,800 children. Provision of health services has been severely disrupted, with acute lack of antibiotics and other types of medications leaving children susceptible to otherwise easily treatable diseases, while hundreds of newborns are experiencing nutritional problems exacerbated by the ongoing shortage of infant formula,” he noted.

The Armenian envoy reminded that on 22 February, the International Court of Justice issued an Order on the indication of a provisional measure demanding that Azerbaijan “shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin corridor in both directions”. To this date, Azerbaijan has failed to ensure compliance with the legally binding Order of the Court.

“Azerbaijan’s denial of safe and unimpeded humanitarian access of the UN agencies to Nagorno-Karabakh undermines comprehensive assessment of the humanitarian, protection, early recovery needs and human rights situation of the population, to ensure the protection of the rights of children and their access to inclusive and quality education, healthcare and social services,” the Permanent Representative said.

“As the leading advocate of the United Nations for the protection of children affected by armed conflict, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General has a central role to play in raising awareness on the need to increase efforts to protect children, whose inalienable rights are under brutal attack. The intentional disruption of the Lachin Corridor, which has left 30,000 children and their families besieged, constitutes a violation of a massive scope and gravity, and we call on the Special Representative to use her important mandate to monitor the situation and to take efforts for humanitarian access in order to avoid further deterioration of the conditions affecting the lives of the children in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Mher Margaryan continued.

“The United Nations and its humanitarian arm (OCHA), as well as the SRSG for children and armed conflict and this very Council have a distinct responsibility to prevent grave violations and to safeguard the physical security of children, whose rights and safety must be respected and protected at all times, in all parts of the world, including in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he concluded.

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