July 13, 2023

Azerbaijan’s Illegal Blockade Causes 30,000 Armenian Children Mental Anguish, Starvation, Trauma

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by Uzay Bulut, Research Fellow

Azerbaijan and its ally, Turkey, have blockaded Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh), an Armenian republic in the South Caucasus, since December 12, 2022, in an attempt to force the Armenians to flee their native lands and take over the region.

Currently, food supplies are completely cut off from transportation into Artsakh, and there is no fuel or gas. The Azeri military attacks on farmers are ongoing. And the 7-month siege of Artsakh Republic is killing children.

Artsakh has for millennia been an integral part of historic Armenia and has never been a part of independent Azerbaijan. Dating back to the 9-6th century BC, the region was governed by various Armenian kingdoms, and in the 17th Century, it was annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1921, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin arbitrarily carved out Artsakh and placed it under the administration of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic as an autonomous oblast. Artsakh, however, remained demographically Armenian and preserved its autonomous status despite widespread oppression and discrimination at the hands of Soviet Azerbaijan. On December 10, 1991, Artsakh declared independence as a republic from the Soviet Union – an act which further increased Azerbaijan’s persecution of Artsakh. And this persecution that aims to ethnically cleanse Armenians has reached its culmination in recent years.

On July 8, in Aghabekalanj village in Artsakh’s Martakert region, three-year-old Leo and six-year-old Gita died of heat and exhaustion in an abandoned car after going to look for their mom, who had gone on foot to search for something to feed them.