GENEVA — In a joint statement issued at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva on October 11, 34 countries expressed deep concern over the grave humanitarian and human rights crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The joint statement was delivered by Ambassador Christine Toudic, Deputy Permanent Representative of Franceto the UN Office in Geneva. It reads as follows:

“We are extremely concerned by the dire humanitarian and human rights crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and the situation of the population who have fled from there in the past weeks.

According to the report of the UN Mission to the region, nearly the entire ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh has fled to Armenia – more than 100,000 people. Their report rightly notes the suffering this experience must have caused.

This massive displacement of ethnic Armenians from their homes stems from Azerbaijan’s military operation launched on September 19th and a nine-month long blockage of the Lachin corridor leading to dire humanitarian conditions.

We appreciate that High Commissioner Turk’s statement of September 26 urged safeguarding the rights of ethnic Armenians, protection of civilians, and observance of international law. We wholly agree that “reported violations of human rights or international humanitarian law require follow-up, including prompt, independent and transparent investigations.”

We believe the appropriate next step is for the OHCHR to closely monitor the situation of human rights in Nagorno-Karabakh, meet refugees and displaced persons and those who remain, and to keep this Council informed. We therefore urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to invite the OHCHR to provide them with such technical assistance as soon as possible.

At this time, we urge Azerbaijan to ensure the rights and security of those Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians who remain and to promptly create conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of those who wish to go home. Their cultural and religious heritage should also be guaranteed and protected.

We further urge Azerbaijan to comply with the interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights on 22 September and the provisional measures of the ICJ adopted on 7 December 2021, 22 February 2023 and 6 July 2023.

We urge Armenia, with the support of the international community, to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the crisis.

International access to Nagorno-Karabakh is crucial to provide assistance and independent monitoring, including to report on the human rights situation.

Furthermore, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Armenia and Azerbaijan should be fully respected. We strongly support dialogue among all parties to secure a comprehensive and lasting peace.

We will continue to follow the situation closely and consider any and all appropriate further steps by the Council.’

The list of signatory countries: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.

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