ESU has followed the struggle and the calls for peace of the Armenian students amidst the repetitive war escalations in the self-declared republic of Artsakh known as Nagorno-Karabakh. In summer 2020, ESU joined the Armenian National Students’ Association – ANSA to call for democracy, prosperity and stability in the region imploring for closely monitored and publicly communicated mediation by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). ESU and ANSA appealed to the European Commission and the EEAS for enhanced and strategically effective investment into embedding education (formal and non-formal) on human rights and democratic citizenship within the Eastern Partnership initiative of the EU in parallel to boosting student mobility schemes. We believe that this can give students from both countries opportunities to learn to live together in a democratic and multicultural society, overcome the rooted hatred and xenophobia, value diversity and equality, appreciate differences – particularly between different faith and ethnic groups – and settle disagreements and conflicts in a non-violent manner with respect for each other’s’ rights, as well as to combat all forms of discrimination and violence.
Alas, our calls remain unresponded, and it’s already more than a month as we follow the bloodiest war of the past decade happening in the post-Soviet space – in the republic of Artsakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. On the 27th of September 2020 a full-fledged war escalated with all facts and experts pointing towards the military aggression launched by Azerbaijan backed Turkey’s political and military support. Multiple reports and announcements, including by France and Russia, confirm that Turkey deployed Syrian militants to fight for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. After three unsuccessful attempts of the ceasefire, thousands are dead, over a hundred of civilians and children lost their lives from both sides. The capital of Artsakh, Stepanakert, and other civilian settlements of the region have been repeatedly bombarded with no mercy towards the civilian lives. We read credible reports of Human Rights Watch about flagrant disregard for the safety of civilians in Artsakh by Azerbaijan, we see severe war crimes and disrespect of the international humanitarian law. As a result, part of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh was forced to flee, leaving behind their homes and their families who fight on the front-line. Education, work and lives of the civilians in Artsakh are intentionally disrupted amidst territorial claims. European values and diplomacy failed to bring a peaceful solution to this conflict and today we are reaping the results in the form of this grave war, intentional shelling of civilians and ethnic cleansing of the ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
ESU is devastated to see how this war fades any possible hope for reconciliation between the two nations of Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are shocked to read the report: “European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance” which states that political leaders, educational institutions and media in Azerbaijan have continued using hate speech against Armenians. An entire generation of Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to this hateful rhetoric. Human rights activists working towards reconciliation with Armenia have been sentenced to heavy prison terms with controversial accusations. It is troubling to read how the regime in Azerbaijan today restricts the social media access to its citizens and persecutes those few young people in the country who call for peace amidst the war.
We have seen many calls for peace by European institutions and countries neutrality directed to both of the parties, however, today we state that the technical neutrality of the democratic Europe is a great enemy to achieving peace. Therefore we demand from the EU to ensure urgent, transparent and credible monitoring of the situation in the Caucasus and accordingly take actions in response.
Today, we – ESU and its undersigning members stand in solidarity with the Armenian National Students’ Association calling for concrete steps of European institutions and EU countries that will force terms on Turkey-backed Azerbaijani regime to guarantee an immediate peace in the region. We call for urgent actions to prevent the ethnic cleansing of the people of Artsakh and ensure their right to peaceful life, self-determination and peaceful co-existence together with its neighbours.
Proposed by: ANSA
Seconded by: CSC, ANOSR, HÖOK, fzs, ŠRVŠ, BOSS, FAGE
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