ANC UK Newsletter September/October 2023

1. Ethnic cleansing of Artsakh: Write to your MP campaign
2. Response of our UK Parliamentarians to the crisis in Artsakh, Baroness Cox’s visit to Armenia and Goris, House of Lords debate
3. 18 organisations write a letter to Foreign Secretary
4. Church leaders Appeal to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene in the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh
5. UK government response: statements to the OSCE and £1 million funding to the Red Cross to support the humanitarian response in Artsakh
6. Pro Artsakh protests across Europe including UK during last weekend
7. Inauguration of the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Ealing
8. Event organised in the UK Parliament to discuss the ethnic cleansing carried out in Artsakh
9. News coverage by UK media about Artsakh
10. Chairperson of ANC UK meets Deputy Mayor of London

On 19 September 2023, Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attack on Artsakh,  against the 120,000 indigenous unarmed, besieged and starving Armenians living in Artsakh.

At the time of writing, more than 100,000 people have already been forced to flee their homes after enduring 9 months of Azerbaijani genocidal blockades, hunger and attacks.

The ethnic cleansing of Artsakh, which started in 2020, is continuing today. Under duress a decree was signed on 28 September 2023 to dissolve the historic Armenian Republic of Artsakh by 1 January 2024. Such a statement has no legal force and, of course, we will fight for the restoration of the Republic of Artsakh. will be demanding form the UK government and the international community to create future status like Kosovo for Artsakh so our brothers and sisters can return safely to their ancestral homeland, Artsakh.

Photo: David Ghahramanyan

1. Ethnic cleansing of Artsakh: Write to your MP campaign

2) Complete your information and address. All areas must be completed.
3) The system will find your MP based on where you live and a pre written letter is ready for you.
4) Send the email to your MP.
With just a few minutes of your time you are already doing your part to help prevent the suffering of the Armenian population of Artsakh.

You can also help by

(1)  donating to organisations providing aid to those affected by what is happening in Artsakh; and

(2)  raising awareness of the situation by sharing information regarding the blockade of Artsakh with those around you and by following us for regular updates on the situation in Artsakh. Demand the UK government to #SanctionAzerbaijan and #RecognizeArtsakh. The Guardian is currently collecting testimonies of refugees and forcibly displaced people of Artsakh. If you or anyone you know would be willing to provide a testimony, please follow this link: The Guardian – Artsakh Testimonies.

2. Response of our UK Parliamentarians to the crisis in Artsakh, Baroness Cox’s visit to Armenia and Goris, House of Lords debate

Your voice can and should be heard – please see below some of the responses which we have received from MPs in respect of the “Write to your MP” campaign from the time of the blockade of Artsakh.

As you’ll see, Dr Rupa Hug (Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton) wrote: the unravelling “humanitarian crisis” and stated that she “stand[s] in solidarity with the Armenian people”. Sir Robert Buckland (Conservative MP for South Swindon), has said that he would “raise [our] concerns in [his] next meeting with Foreign Office ministers”. Marsha de Cordova (Labour MP for Battersea) and Mr David Lammy MP (Labour MP for Tottenham, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs) have similarly highlighted that this is a “humanitarian crisis”.

The louder we speak the more chance that we will be heard by the UK government. 

Action taken by Baroness Cox

In September, Baroness Cox (together accompanied with the members of the International Christian Solidarity (CSI) Christian human rights organisation and the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), travelled to Armenia where she met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh Sergey Ghazaryan to discuss issues surrounding Artsakh, and also met Arman Tatoyan (Director of the “Tatoyan” Centre for law and Justice).

During her visit, Baroness Cox participated in a press conference in Yerevan after visiting the Lachin Corridor and Syunik together with John Eibner the CEO of Christian Solidarity International. During the press conference, she Cox highlighted the “grave danger and that the current policy carried out by the Armenian government for Artsakh and Syunik is suspicious and dangerous”.

You can view the full video here. You can also watch the video where Baroness Cox visits the Lachin corridor here.

Baroness Cox also  participated at a House of Lords debate on 21 September, making the following statement:

‘My Lords, I was in Armenia and at the border of Nagorno-Karabakh last week. I would like briefly to raise three concerns from personal experience. First, Azerbaijan has trapped the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh inside the region for many months; it has blockaded the so-called Lachin corridor, which is the only road from Armenia into Nagorno-Karabakh. Not only that but it has prevented food and medical supplies entering, and people have started dying of starvation. Secondly, in recent military offensives Azerbaijan has targeted civilians. Civilians have been killed, including a child, and many have been wounded. That is a very serious violation of human rights and may be a crime against humanity. Thirdly, I witnessed Azerbaijan’s invasion of Armenia. I was in Armenia and saw Azeri settlements on Armenian hillsides. A few kilometres from Goris, there is an Azeri settlement which is visible from the town.’

She continued: ‘I ask the Minister if he will be able to raise with appropriate sources the suffering inflicted by Azerbaijan on the Armenian people and the potential crimes against humanity. I also ask if he will respond appropriately to the need of the Armenian people for protection against the infliction of military offences and crimes against humanity in Nagorno-Karabakh.’

Finally, Baroness Cox also wrote an article about the situation in Artsakh in the Guardian, which you can here: The Guardian Article.

On September 29, the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) announced that the Lady Cox Disability Rehabilitation Centre in Stepanakert, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) was forced to shut down after 25 years, because of the latest Azerbaijan attacks and the forced displacement of the Armenian population.

As always, we sincerely thank Baroness Cox for all the dedicated work she does for Artsakh and for Armenia.

Question by Tim Loughton (Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham)

Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Armenia asked the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent attacks on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Tim Loughton also issued the following statement: “We are horrified to see the horrific scenes of shelling of innocent civilians including children in Stepanakert and strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s military aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh. Hostilities must be stopped immediately and Azerbaijan forced back to the negotiating table“.

Additionally, Tim Loughton questioned the FCDO earlier this month Loughton  by asking whether the Government has offered humanitarian aid to help civilians affected by Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor.

Finally, Tim Loughton Chairman spoke with BBCs Janey Wall about the ethnic cleansing currently committed in Artsakh by Azerbaijan. You can access the full video here.

We thank Tim Loughton MP for his continued support to the Armenians of Artsakh.

Sarah Olney (Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park) questions the FCDO

Stephen Doughty (Labour (Co-op) MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) questions the FCDO

Stephen Stephen Doughty, Labour (Co-op) MP for Cardiff South and Penarth and Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development), said:

“Deeply troubling scenes from Nagorno-Karabakh in recent hours, with serious escalation of violence and loss of life on all sides. Azerbaijan should immediately end further hostilities. All parties should work toward the resumption of peaceful dialogue. The blockade of the Lachin Corridor must end, and full humanitarian access must be provided for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The UK should work with European partners, the EU, OSCE and UN in lowering tensions and in urging all sides to return to constructive dialogue, predicated on international law and respect for human rights”.

Leo Docherty, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, issues statement

Leo Docherty, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) said: “After yesterday’s welcome humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh, the return of military conflict in the region is devastating for the local population. Azerbaijan should cease military action. U.K. working hard to urge dialogue. Violence is never the answer».

UK must sanction Azerbaijan to stop the second Armenian Genocide against Artsakh.

Andrew Rosindell (Conservative MP for Romford) questions the FCDO

Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what information his Department holds on the alleged abduction of Vagif Khachatryan in Armenia by the border guard service of Azerbaijan; and if he will make a statement.

In response, Leo Docherty, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) said ‘We are aware of the arrest of Armenian citizen Vagif Khachatryan by the State Border Service of Azerbaijan and continue to monitor the situation. The UK Government has been vocal about the importance of ensuring free movement along the Lachin Corridor, both in public and in private, including at the UN Security Council on 16 August’.

Lisa Nandy and Stephen Doughty wrote a letter to Andrew Mitchell & Leo Docherty

Read the complete letter here.

Jessica Morden (Labour MP for Newport East) issued a question regarding the request for assurances about the Artsakh blockade

Jessica Morden, Labour MP for Newport East, issued a question to the Leader of the House on September 7 asking for assurances that the FCO is pressuring Azerbaijan to end the blockade of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Jessica Morden asked “It’s 270 days since Azerbaijan began its blockade of the Lachin Corridor, causing huge hardship to the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, who are under siege without basic supplies and whose suffering is getting worse. Can we have a statement urgently from a FCO minister to make sure the government is using all the levers it has to pressurise Azerbaijan to comply with international obligations and lift the blockade?”.

You can watch the video here

Debate of the House of Lords and representations to the UK government about the recents attacks of Azerbaijan against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) (21 September 2023)

Please click here to watch the full debate.

3. 18 organisations write a letter to Foreign Secretary

18 organisations wrote a letter to James Cleverly, the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Developed Affairs, highlighting the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Artsakh. The UK Armenian community organisations emphasised the catastrophic situation in the region and requested immediate action from the UK government.

4. Church leaders Appeal to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene in the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh

Church leaders have sent a letter to Downing Street asking the UK Government to prevent the unravelling of a genocide in Artsakh. Churches Together in England President Archbishop Nikitas and General Secretary Bishop Mike Royal are among church leaders who have signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The letter has been coordinated by the Primate of the Armenian Church of the United Kingdom and Ireland Bishop Hovakim Manukyan.

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote an article in the Telegraph alerting that “the Armenians are facing genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh»

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote an article in the Telegraph alerting that “the Armenians are facing genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh “.

“Time is running out – not only to save lives but to honour the possibility of a dependable moral commitment in international affairs. The Lachin Corridor crisis is not the only current threat to such a possibility, as we know all too well. But it is one that can and should be resolved without delay. Lives are at stake; but so is the principle of justice and security for the vulnerable. The Azerbaijani blockade in the Lachin Corridor goes unchecked and the region faces a genocide».

You can read the article here.

5. UK statements to the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe)

Ambassador Neil Holland (Head of the UK’s Delegation to the OSCE) previously delivered a speech about the situation in Artsakh on 12 September. You can read the full speech here.

Neil Holland highlighted the deep concern that the UK has in respect of the disruption of the Lachin corridor, as well as the importance of protecting the rights and security of the residents of Artsakh.

“It is only through diplomacy in line with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act that we will see a sustainable settlement to this conflict. We urge both Armenia and Azerbaijan to restore substantive negotiations on a settlement to the wider remaining tensions in the region as soon as possible”. UK statement to the OSCE by Deputy Ambassador Deirdre Brown on September 28.

Complete text here.

UK will fund the Red Cross to support the humanitarian response in Artsakh

The UK has announced £1 million funding to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as it provides life-saving medication, healthcare and other essential support to vulnerable people in Nagorno-Karabakh and the wider region.

The official announcement here.

6. Protests across Europe organised by the Europeans for Artsakh Movement

Protests were organised in 20 cities across Europe demanding European governments this weekend to #SanctionAzerbaijan to STOP a new Armenian genocide in Artsakh. More than 10 thousand people from Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands took part in a pan-European rally in Brussels in support of Artsakh

Protest of the Armenian community of UK

On Saturday 30th of September the Armenian community of United Kingdom organised a protest on Saturday in front of 10 Downing Street and the European Union Delegation Office to demand sanctioning Azerbaijan for the atrocities committed in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) by Azerbaijan.

We prepared a video of the protest that you can see here.

7. Inauguration of the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Ealing

On Saturday 23rd September the Ambassador of Armenia to the United Kingdom Varuzhan Nersesyan, Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Members of Parliament James Murray, Ealing Mayor Mr Tailor, the Leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason, council representatives and community members gathered in Ealing to unveil a monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

The event was accompanied with brief speeches and thanks. The monument is significant as the first Armenian Genocide memorial in London in a public area.

8. Event organised in the UK Parliament to discuss the ethnic cleansing carried out in Artsakh

On September 13th, The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Armenia and the APPG for Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity organised a joint event on the current genocidal blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Tigray on September 13.

We want to thank Tim Loughton and Fleur Anderson MPs who co-chaired the event, as well as our excellent expert speakers.

Our speakers included the following:

Journalist Rasmus Canbäck, a Swedish journalist, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and Dr. Melanie O’Brien visiting Professor at University of Minnesota and President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS).

9. News coverage by UK media about Artsakh

– Gev Iskajyan, Executive Director of ANC Artsakh, speaks with BBC World Service Newshour’s Tim Franks about Azerbaijan’s genocidal attack on Artsakh, the brutal blockade, and the need for international oversight to ensure the safety of Artsakh’s indigenous ethnic Armenian population. Watch the video here.
– Read the analysis by Pjotr Sauer in The Guardian here.
– Tim Loughton Chairman of APPG for Armenia talks to the BBC’s Janey Wall about the ethnic cleansing in Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijan. Watch the interview here.
The Guardian collected testimonies of refugees and forcibly displaced people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
– “They started bombing everywhere. Some people got killed, some were wounded, I saw some people who had had their heads blown off. It was horrendous”. Survivors of Azerbaijan’s attacks on Artsakh share their testimonies to BBC. Read the complete story here.
– “More than 40% of the region’s population of 120,000 people has scrambled to flee as soon as Azerbaijan lifted a 10-month blockade on the region’s only road to Armenia. That blockade had caused severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel, and many residents fearing reprisals have already fled. The updated figures came as the death toll from an explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh rose to 68, with a further 105 people missing and nearly 300 injured, the office of Karabakh’s ombudsman said”. The report of The Guardian here.
– “Resources are so scarce there, people are running out of water and fuel on the road along the way out. If anything happens to children and the elderly, no one can get to them. Ambulances can’t move. It weighs heavy. Nagorno-Karabakh isn’t just a place, it is a culture, it has its own dialect. You look at the people in the back of trucks, they have to fit their entire life in a single box, they can’t bring everything, they can’t go back, it breaks your heart”, said Gev Iskajyan, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Artsakh. Read the complete article of The Independent here.
– Nagorno-Karabakh: Thousands flee as Armenia says ethnic cleansing under way:
– Panic in Nagorno-Karabakh but Azerbaijan rejects fears of ethnic cleansing:
– ‘Centuries of history lost’: Armenians describe journey to safety after fall of NagornoKarabakh:
– Almost entire population of Armenians flee Nagorno-Karabakh amid ‘ethnic cleansing’ fears:
– Nagorno-Karabakh: 50,000 people flee to Armenia along 100 miles of winding road after Azerbaijan military offensive:
– A democratic nation has been allowed to die – the UN has failed once more:

10. Chairperson of ANC UK meets Deputy Mayor of London

Annette Moskofian, Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of the United Kingdom, met with Deputy Mayor of London Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard on 27 September and discussed the situation in Artsakh and the Armenian Genocide.

We also demand the illegal arrests of all government and military personnel of Artsakh under fictitious charges need to be stopped

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