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The UNHCR is growing more worried about the safety of refugees escaping from the Karabakh region.
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The UNHCR is growing more worried about the safety of refugees escaping from the Karabakh region.

According to reports, around 19,000 refugees, including elderly individuals, women, and children, have departed from the Karabakh Economic Region in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The spokesperson for UNHCR, Shabia Mantoo, urged all parties to safeguard civilians and fully abide by international refugee law, which grants them safe passage.

During a UN agency briefing in Geneva, Ms. Mantoo stated that all parties must avoid actions that may result in civilians being forced to leave their homes. She also emphasized the importance of ensuring their safety, security, and human rights.


Guterres is expressing significant worry about the displacement caused by…

During the routine midday press conference held in New York, the spokesperson for the United Nations, Stéphane Dujarric, expressed the concerns of UN Secretary-General António Guterres regarding the displacement.

The spokesperson emphasized the importance of safeguarding the rights of displaced communities and ensuring they receive the humanitarian assistance they are entitled to.

He emphasized that currently, the UN is not actively involved in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the area. However, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is present in Armenia.

The ongoing dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a particular region has lasted for over 30 years. However, a truce and later agreement known as the Trilateral Statement was reached nearly three years ago after six weeks of combat. This was made possible by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, who then deployed thousands of Russian peacekeepers to the area.

Last week, as fighting intensified and the first refugees arrived in Armenia, the United Nations leader urged for complete access for aid workers to reach those in need.

De-escalation call

Mr. Guterres also called for de-escalation “in the strongest terms” and “stricter” observance of the 2020 ceasefire, and principles of international humanitarian law. 

Echoing that appeal, UNHCR’s Ms. Mantoo explained on Tuesday that amid the “complex and multicultural” situation, access to asylum must be maintained for people in need of international protection “to ensure that people are treated humanely, that their rights are protected and respected, and that they can access the protection and safety that they need”.  

Ms. Mantoo stated that assistance should also be extended to nations directly affected by the arrival of refugees.

The UNHCR representative also urged for “alternative options for legal residence” and the “enlargement of secure and authorized routes so individuals do not have to endanger their lives and we can avoid these types of delays and stresses.”

International solidarity call

She restated that addressing the situation at a local level will only be effective with the support and cooperation of countries and individuals involved.

Ms. Mantoo stated that the UNHCR teams in Armenia were closely monitoring the situation.

According to Ms. Mantoo, individuals were experiencing the consequences of trauma and fatigue and require immediate psychosocial assistance. She mentioned that the government of Armenia is taking charge of the situation and is anticipated to request additional aid from the global community.

The United Nations organization has also given aid in the form of non-food supplies such as portable beds, mattresses, and bedding. They have identified a need for shelter, warm clothing, and other important non-food items. Additionally, they are working to gather more assistance and collaborating with local government and partners to address the growing needs.

On Tuesday evening, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Volker Türk, expressed his worry about the changing circumstances in a statement.

He stated that any instances of human rights violations or breaches of international humanitarian law must be addressed with timely, impartial, and open investigations in order to hold those responsible accountable and provide justice for the victims.

He emphasized the importance of not denying ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities the freedom to embrace their own culture, practice their own religion, and use their own language.

The source is the United Nations News.