Yerevan leaving Karabakh with demographic problems

Yerevan leaving Karabakh with demographic problems

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 16


As far as the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan demonstrated success in the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and neighboring territories, the issue of military security was increasingly raised in the world media, Trend reports citing the article published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

“Commentators have occasionally spoken about the existing risks for the Armenians of Karabakh, ignoring the promise of Baku to do everything possible for them. However, serious problems related to demographic policy in this area, it seems, is not created by Azerbaijani politics,” the article said.

“Moreover, the concept of "Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh" by itself implies mosaicism. Seemingly the whole community actually consists of the Armenian population, which lived here before the conflict, internally displaced persons from other districts, "southeastern" displaced armies. According to assessments by Baku, the problem of security and integration can be considered exclusively for the local population in this area and internally displaced persons, but not in any way, according to the opinion of the Azerbaijani side, the intention of the foreign side is deliberate,” said the article.

“As a result of the hostilities, the decision to leave Karabakh was taken by the de facto representatives of all these groups. However, it is not proper to call them all refugees. This, according to legal assessments, is not exactly the people who are holders of passports of Armenia. The Armenian government introduced statistics at the beginning of November, according to which, as a result of the current escalation, about 90,000 people left the district. The majority went to the more secure districts of Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia. The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia Tatevik Stepanyan brought about 40,000 people from Armenia to Karabakh (while the total population of the region is 150,000 people)," the article said.

However, the statistics show a difference: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia still called the figure on October 24 to about 90,000 people who left Karabakh.

During the hostilities, transit from the conflict zone was extremely difficult. Thus, about 80 journalists, some of whom were foreigners, faced problems with leaving Karabakh, where the fighting was underway. The reason was that the Armenian Armed Forces blocked the transportation between Khankendi city and Armenia through the Lachin corridor. Nevertheless, civilians also became victims of Yerevan's negligence.

There is known a story of two elderly people - 85-year-old Eugenia Babayan and 84-year-old Misha Melkumyan, who were left without any help during the retreat of the Armenian forces in Hadrut. The residents were discovered by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and sent to Baku, where they received medical assistance. After a while, the Azerbaijani side tried to transfer them along with the prisoners of war, however, Yerevan refused to take Melkumyan, probably due to his heavy state of health.

Baku supposes that the Armenian side deliberately expected the elderly man to die in Azerbaijan and wanted to turn this into a scandal. He actually died soon after.

It's no secret that many of those Armenians who left Azerbaijan in the 1990s and received an offer from Armenia to renounce their refugee status and go through the process of ‘voluntary naturalization’ also faced difficulties. Nevertheless, according to the assessments of the Armenian media, those refugees who acquired Armenian citizenship in this way believe that naturalization has become a trap in Armenia's migration policy. They can be understood: hopes that the acquisition of Armenian citizenship would radically change their financial and social situation didn’t come true.

The fact is that both the naturalized citizens and refugees remain the most marginalized population group in Armenia. In this regard, there is no reason to doubt that the Armenians who took refuge in Armenia amid the recent hostilities may face similar problems.

The complicated demographic map of Karabakh will become an additional catalyst for the problems with refugees. The problem is that Yerevan was inhabited by not only Armenians who came from Armenia, but also from the Middle East region - Lebanon and Syria. It’s remarkable that after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, the Armenian side decided to receive the families of the Lebanese Armenians left without a home.

Thus, amid this situation, more than 1,100 Armenians arrived in Armenia, 10-15 percent of them are children. Before the incident in the port, 280 more Lebanese Armenians arrived via four flights.

Baku thinks that this way the Armenian political elite tried to increase the number of "its" people in problem areas, changing their ethnocultural appearance in violation of international norms, and in particular, the 1949 Geneva Convention and its protocols.

It is not a coincidence that the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry in mid-September expressed a firm protest to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and other international organizations in connection with the problem of resettlement of Armenian families from Lebanon to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"This illegal activity is the gross violation of the norms and principles of international law by Armenia, including the violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention and its additional protocols, as well as the obligations assumed by Armenia itself," the diplomatic mission said. “We urge the international community to take practical steps to bring to justice the Armenian government, which holds the Azerbaijani territories under occupation and carries out illegal activity on these lands."

The fact is proven by many influential media that many Armenians of Arab origin have been involved in hostilities since their beginning causes no surprise. A big flow has been observed since September.

“After the peace declaration to end the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the demographic issue is much more acute,” the 7th paragraph of the peace declaration said. “Internally displaced people and refugees are returning to the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the adjacent areas under the control of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.”

It is possible that this wording refers to both the Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the Azerbaijanis who left their houses in the first half of the 1990s due to the occupation of the Armenian Armed Forces. However, the implementation of this principle still requires elaboration. Moreover, Yerevan is unlikely to agree to reverse the direction of its demographic policy in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

If one talks about the rest of the Armenians, then their problem will be solved within the legal registration and security.

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