03/13/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/13/2023 06:55
Speech by RA NA Alen Simonyan at 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
The delegation led by the President of the RA National Assembly Alen Simonyan takes part in the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Bahrain, which is dedicated to peace and security.
In Manama, in the capital of Bahrain more than 1700 delegates from 136 countries, heads of more than six dozen parliaments will give speeches. The Assembly includes all statutory bodies of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, including the Governing Council, Standing Committees, Committees on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and on Middle East Questions, as well as the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young MPs. The General Debates will focus on the overall theme of Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance - and provide a platform for delegates to deliberate, exchange views and galvanize parliamentary action in this area.
The RA NA President of the National Assembly Alen SImonyan touched upon the situation in Armenia and in Nagorno Karabakh, particularly the problems regarding the Lachin crisis caused as a consequence of the Azerbaijani aggression.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank our Bahrainian colleagues for their warm hospitality and excellently organized Assembly.
Climate change, wars and disasters: we are living in difficult times, humanity must stand steadfast in confronting these misfortunes.
May I offer my condolences to the people of Turkey and Syria for the loss of thousands during the recent devastating earthquake that hit these countries.
The main principles of peaceful co-existence, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, equal rights and self-determination, non-interference in domestic affairs should govern the relationships between states. However, we see that these principles are often violated.
Peaceful co-existence goes hand in hand with unity, which is essential for social, economic and political stability. When united individuals and states are more likely to work together to achieve common goals and resolve conflicts peacefully. This creates stable and harmonious environment to shared benefit of all.
Now, let me turn to our region and my country, Armenia, where national minorities, such Yazids, Kurds, Russians, Ukrainians, Assyrians, Jews and Greeks, live side by side as equal member of our society, enjoying their cultural, human educational rights. Under a provision of Armenian Constitution, four representatives of national minorities are members of our parliament.
The cornerstone of our international policy is to maintain peaceful relations with all countries. Nevertheless, we face many threats. Tension in the South Caucasus remains high. Since May 12, 2021 neighbouring Azerbaijan has violated the territorial integrity of Armenia and illegally occupied approximately 150km2 of our land. Despite the challenges, our goal is to partner sustainable peace.
Some say that Armenia seeks to expand its territory. Let me absolutely clear: Armenia has no territorial claims on any of its neighbours.
Let me speak about the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Armenia and the world to Nagorno Karabakh, which is populated by ethnic Armenians who have lived there for thousand years.
The blockade is the gross violation of November 9, 2020 trilateral statement, which declares that the Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin Corridor. Blockade of dozens of Azerbaijani agents masquerading as 'environmental activists,' the road has been inaccessible to civilians and other transport means since December 12, 2022.
The situation has left approximately 120.000 ethnic Armenian residents of Nagorno Karabakh without access to essential goods services. They have been deprived of life saving medication and health care, as humanitarian aid delivered by the Red Cross and peacekeepers has not met demand. Disruption of gas and electricity have created extreme hardships. On many nights the people of Nagorno Karabakh are subjected to deafening calls to prayer, and spotlights beamed at their homes.
Recently Azerbaijan has posted videos falsely showing Armenia supplying arms to Nagorno Karabakh. But Azerbaijan does not limit itself to spreading disinformation and persecution already described.
Just days ago, on March 5, three Nagorno Karabakh police officers were killed, another wounded in the prepared ambush ordered by Azerbaijan.
Esteemed colleagues, I ask - Is this not ethnic cleansing?
As we know intolerance, demonization, violence directed against people based on their race or religion must not be condemned.
In the words of Nelson Mandela: "Nobody is born hating another person because of the colour of the skin, or his background or religion."
The looming catastrophe the people of Nagorno Karabakh has rightfully drawn attention, the European Court of Human Rights appealed measures against Azerbaijan over the blockade, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urgently called on for it to urgently lift it. The Amnesty International, the European Union and the Helsinki Commission have independently called on for an immediate end of the blockade.
On February 22, 2023 the UN International Court of Justice made a decision that Azerbaijan should ensure 'an unimpeded movement' for the Lachin Corridor. With a separate ruling the Court unanimously rejected Azerbaijan's false claims that Armenia had planted mines.
The Azerbaijani authorities insist that the Lachin Corridor is unblocked, but the grave reality on the ground tells different story.
To conclude, I firmly believe that democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and peaceful co-existence are the pillars upon which the humankind should live in peace and harmony.
Thank you very much," the NA President noted.
The members of the RA NA delegation Hasmik Hakobyan and Tsovinar Vardanyan, the Chief of Staff, Secretary General of the RA National Assembly are in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in the delegation led by the NA President.