Armenian Christians are again under threat of genocide after Azerbaijan imposed sanctions on the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where conflict between Muslim-majority Azerbaijan and Christian-majority Armenia continues. More than 120,000 Armenian Christians are stranded without food or medicine after Azerbaijan closed the ‘China Corridor’, the only route to the region.
Sam Brownback, former ambassador to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a member of the fact-finding mission in Armenia, revealed that Christians in the region of Azerbaijan have been strangled and that the sanctions are the latest attempt at ‘religious cleansing’. diet ‘They are trying to make the area uninhabitable, forcing Christians in the area to leave.’
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at odds since 1988 over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Armenia calls ‘Artsakh’. While some interpret this conflict as a conflict for territory, experts observe that it is a war between Christian Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan. According to Brownback, while Armenia wants to keep ‘Artsakh’, Azerbaijan is trying to exterminate the Christians altogether.
Ottoman Turkey behind?
Azerbaijan wants to align itself with the main regional power, Turkey. Observers say the current crisis is rooted in Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s desire to restore the Ottoman Empire, which massacred Armenian Christians in the early 20th century. Nestled in the South Caucasus mountains between the Muslim countries of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Armenia has long been under threat from its larger and more powerful Islamic neighbors.
With a Christian presence since ancient times, Armenia is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. Armenia and Azerbaijan were part of the Soviet Union. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the conflict over control of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh escalated into outright war several times. Although many peace agreements were signed, none of them could sustain the peace.
According to experienced experts in the field, the Christian community in Nagorno-Karabakh is on the brink of a terrible genocide. Robert Nicholson, president of the human rights organization ‘Philos Project’, says that this is the oldest Christian nation that faces the threat of genocide for the second time in almost a century, and international intervention is urgently needed to deliver food and necessities to Armenians blocked. in Gorno-Karabakh.
The suffering of Armenian Christians is unspeakable
Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, invaded Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, reigniting the long-running conflict and seizing control of the region. 6,800 people died in the war and more than 90,000 were displaced. More than 100,000 Christians living there were cut off from Armenia.
Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are connected by a narrow road less than four miles long called the ‘China Corridor’. This is the only way for the Armenians living there to get food and supplies. In December 2022, supporters of the Azerbaijan government besieged the ‘China’ Corridor. Then, despite the warnings of the countries of the world, a military checkpoint was set up on the road and all the international aid groups were blocked, and the situation of more than one lakh Christians became inexplicably worse.
Among the besieged are 30,000 children, 20,000 elderly and 9,000 disabled people, Lucin Stepayan, head of the ‘Caritas Armenia’ project says: ‘The blockade of the Lachine corridor has turned the Nagorno-Karabakh region into a country where nothing is available to support people life The condition of all the people is so poor, they are on the verge of mass death.’
Aid is insufficient
In his remarks on December 18, 2022, Pope Francis expressed his concern about the situation in the Lachine Corridor. Pope Francis asked everyone to commit themselves to find a peaceful solution for the positive of those trapped there and said he is concerned about the humanitarian situation of loved ones who are on the brink of death. Despite the Pope’s words and the protests of international human rights organizations and the United Nations, Azerbaijan refuses to lift the sanctions.
Catholic voluntary organizations such as ‘Catholic Relief Services’, an international aid organization of the American Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ‘Caritas International’, a charitable initiative of the world church, support Armenian Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh, but the reality is that none in which they are not fully adapted to the needs of these helpless people.
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