Since December 12th, 2022, Azerbaijan has blocked the Goris-Stepanakert road, which is the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia. As a result, 120,000 people have been isolated from the rest of the world. Due to the blockade, essential supplies such as food, medicine, and other necessities have been unable to reach the Artsakh Republic for the past weeks. Currently, Artsakh has no means of communication available by land or air.
The blockade is having severe consequences on the well-being of people who live in Artsakh, violating their internationally guaranteed rights and threatening their lives and safety. People in Artsakh have been unable to receive proper medical care and have been deprived of the ability to move freely between Artsakh and the internationally recognized borders of Armenia. The restriction of movement has been exacerbated by the denied access to emergency vehicles and other modes of vital transportation. The continuation of the blockade is causing a humanitarian crisis, including the loss of life and the potential for further conflict and increased tension in the region.
With this and other regular actions, the Azerbaijani side grossly violates the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which defines the right of every individual to receive an education. These actions have had a detrimental effect on the right to education of around 30,000 children, guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The blocking of the Goris-Stepanakert road has hindered the ability of Armenian and international educational organizations to operate properly. Many of their employees are unable to return to their communities or are under siege in Artsakh.
In addition to blocking the road, Azerbaijan has taken actions designed to make life impossible for the 120,000 people in Artsakh. This includes the deliberate suspension of Artsakh’s gas supply in winter conditions, which left tens of thousands of children without heating and hot water for several days. As a result, most educational institutions closed. Frequent interruptions of classes in kindergartens, schools, and universities hinder students from learning and doing so in a safe environment, as guaranteed by international standards.
The blockade of Artsakh is creating a humanitarian crisis for the residents of Artsakh. The undersigned organizations strongly condemn the prolonged and inhumane policies of the Azerbaijani authorities, motivated by ethnic discrimination and hatred of Armenians, thereby violating the UN Convention against Discrimination in Education. International organizations and foreign diplomatic missions are responsible for acting decisively and preventing discriminatory treatment. It is clear that only strong and targeted criticism and action can ensure the safety, well-being, and right to education of the 30,000 children living in Artsakh. Allowing these human rights violations to continue with total impunity only encourages further crimes and atrocities against civilians. The international community cannot stand by and tolerate such human rights violations.
A group of organizations working in the field of education and science call on international actors, institutions, and foreign diplomatic missions to fulfill their responsibilities and take strong and targeted action to restore the right to education for the children of Artsakh, ensure a safe, educational environment and prevent discrimination against the entire population. It is essential to promptly reestablish safe communication via Goris-Stepanakert highway, which is the only land route connecting Artsakh to Armenia. As an additional measure, it is necessary to provide air transportation in cases where the use of this route is necessary for urgent humanitarian purposes.
We stand ready to support and share our experience in developing short-term and long-term action plans to implement these measures.
Teach For Armenia
Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises
TUMO Center for Creative Technologies
Ayb Educational Foundation
Armenian Educational Foundation
Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)
Children of Armenia Charitable Fund
“Shirakatsy Lyceum” International Scientific-Educational Complex” CJSC
Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) Armenia
KASA Swiss Humanitarian Foundation
Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST)
"I" education fund
“Armenia’s Technology Future” Initiative
"One Voice" Armenian Association of Independent Schools
Effective Government Foundation