The fundamental cultural rights of Armenians of Artsakh were violated because of the closure of the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor, resulting humanitarian crisis.

Since December 12, 2022, 10:30 am, a group of Azerbaijanis have blocked the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor for environmental reasons. Due to the blockade of the road, hundreds of citizens, including minors, cannot return to Artsakh, and Armenians of Artsakh (including those who are in need of medical care) cannot count on the help of Armenia and the world, even in urgent humanitarian needs. Transport communication between the villages of Lisagor, Mets Shen, Hin Shen and Yeghtsahogh of the Shushi region with the capital Stepanakert was interrupted.

In addition, the Azerbaijanis, continuing their plan that had already been “successfully” implemented for several times, on December 13 intentionally closed the only gas pipeline in Artsakh, the pipeline from Armenia to Artsakh which is under their control, leaving thousands of residents of Artsakh without fuel for days (4 days). That act is creating humanitarian catastrophe in winter conditions. First of all, we note that the actions of ethnic cleansing, intimidation, physical and psychological pressure, depopulation carried out by Azerbaijan, which make it impossible for the people of Artsakh to live in their historical homeland, are not just separate actions, but components of a single and special policy.

As a result of this policy, in the conditions of the impossibility of exercising their fundamental rights, as a result of the closure of the corridor and the resulting humanitarian crisis, among other rights (impossibility of free movement, supply of essential goods and food), the right to freely participate in the cultural life of Armenians of Artsakh, their natural right to live in accordance with their ideas and cultural practices, which is enshrined as a fundamental right in article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and confirmed by the Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005) adopted by the Council of Europe.

We would like to add, that cultural right is the right of people to participate in the cultural life and education, the restriction of which is a serious violation of human rights, since human rights are universal and therefore should be free from double standards and differentiated approaches. It is also important to mention the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the United Nations on December 16, 1966 (Azerbaijan signed it on August 13, 1992), according to which, regardless of fear and need, conditions should be created in which everyone can enjoy their Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Covenant, Preface).

Article 15 of the Covenant pays special attention to human cultural rights and their implementation, in particular, states that the member states of the UN Economic, Social and Cultural Pact of 1966 (Azerbaijan) for each person must recognize:

  1. the right to participate in cultural life,
  2. the right to use the results of scientific progress and their practical application.

Paragraph 3 of article 15 of the Covenant adds that the states parties to the Covenant undertake to respect the freedom necessary for cultural and creative activities (article 15, part 3).