Crisis caused by blockage deteriorates in Nagorno Karabakh
As the sole road linking Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh remains blocked by a state-sponsored group of Azebaijanis who claim that they are environmental activists, United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) warned against grave consequences.
"Children are being impacted by the virtual closure of access to Nagorno Karabakh via the Lachin corridor," Unicef said on Tuesday.
"The longer the situation persists, the more children will experience the lack of basic food items, while access to many of the essential services they need for their survival, healthy growth and well being will become more challenging. Many children have also been deprived of parental care as they have been separated from their parents or legal guardians."
The road, referred to as the "Lachin corridor" has been blocked since 12 December by several dozens of Azebaijanis who say that gold and copper molybdenum deposits in the region are illegally exploited by Nagorno-Karabakh's authorities, and that they are using the Lachin road to transport those minerals to Armenia. The protesters have reportedly also called for setting up Azerbaijan customs checkpoints along the Lachin corridor, which is in fact a demand voiced by Azerbaijani officials.
The blockage halts the movement of people and goods in or out of the enclave, including food, fuel, and medical supplies, resulting in shortages of the products.
"As the situation deteriorates, it cannot be stressed more that the commitments of the ceasefire of November 9, 2020, must be implemented and continue to be safeguarded," human rights advocate Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab said in Forbes on Thurday, adding:
"This includes ensuring the safe movement of persons, vehicles and goods along the Lachin Corridor. Furthermore, humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies, especially the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees must be granted immediate, free and unhindered access to the affected populations to provide them with the needed assistance."