The Committee for the Defense of Fundamental Rights of the People of Artsakh issued a statement on Friday. It reads as follows: In furtherance of its statement dated January 18, 2024, the Committee for the Defense of Fundamental Rights of the People of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) informs that the initial composition of the Committee includes the following individuals: –
Vartan Oskanian, Foreign Minister of Armenia (1998-2008) – Gegham Stepanyan, Human Rights Defender of Artsakh – Karen Bekaryan, Chairman of the Board, “Insight” Analytical Center for Applied Policy and Research, Armenia – Mario Nalpatian, Member of ANC Central Committee, Argentina – Kaspar Karampetian, President, European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, Belgium – Karnig Kerkonian, International Lawyer, USA The Committee will expand to include additional members, incorporating also individuals from Russia and the Middle East.
The primary mission of the Committee is to pursue and defend the Artsakh people’s right of collective return under tangible international protections, ensuring their safe, secure, and dignified resettlement in their homeland. The people of Artsakh have been forcibly displaced from their homes and lands under the threat of genocide. It is their inherent and inalienable right to return to their homeland without hindrance and to continue their normal democratic life, which was interrupted by military aggression. They should be able to safeguard their language, cultural, and religious heritage, reclaim their property, organize their lives, and maintain their distinct identity according to internationally accepted norms. The right of individuals displaced by conflict to return to their homes voluntarily and safely is recognized as a customary norm of international humanitarian law and is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and numerous regional conventions. Furthermore, on November 17, 2023, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the Republic of Azerbaijan must ensure the safe and unhindered return of those who left Nagorno-Karabakh after September 19, 2023.
The Committee will engage in multilateral initiatives on international platforms to advocate, introduce, substantiate, and champion the interests and rights of the people of Artsakh. Additionally, the Committee will serve as the representative voice for the people of Artsakh in dealings with state and political entities, as well as in international instances, forums, and courts. The Committee will undertake sustained efforts with the Artsakh Armenians, the public in Armenia, and compatriots in the Diaspora, aiming to unite all available resources, including civil society, mass media, academic and professional circles, in pursuit of the aforementioned objectives. The Committee anticipates that the authorities of Armenia and all political forces will show support and a willingness to cooperate. The Committee is ready to work with anyone and everyone willing to assume responsibility within the goals pursued by this mandated Committee.