Christian group urges Biden to prevent ‘genocide’ from developing on Russia’s doorstep

A Christian rights group is calling on President Biden to intervene in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to prevent a potential genocide.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought two wars over the past 30 years over Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but home to a large number of Armenians in the Caucasus mountains. Tensions between the two former Soviet neighbors have risen sharply over the blockade of the only road leading from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a letter sent to President Biden on Wednesday morning, the Philos Project supported the Armenian National Committee of America’s calls for US intervention to prevent Azerbaijan from persecuting Christians in the region as the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues.

“Day after day the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is becoming more and more dire as the normal supplies of essential supplies, medicines and food, on which the region is completely dependent, remain completely cut off, with the exception of a few humanitarian convoys of the International Red Cross, ”the letter says. “Soon the situation will become unbearable. for 120,000 Armenians” in the region.

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The Philos Project called on the Biden administration to “put human rights at the center of its foreign policy” and “implement” the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire and “prevent a second Armenian Genocide by taking decisive action now.” .”

“Though disguised as the work of environmental activists protesting mining, the intent of the blockade was exposed by President Aliyev’s proposal to open the road for any Armenian who wished to leave,” the letter stressed. “Ethnic cleansing…not eco-activism.”

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (top left) speaks during a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Aziz oglu Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan at Blair House, Monday, November 11.  September 7, 2022 in Washington DC.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (top left) speaks during a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Aziz oglu Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan at Blair House, Monday, November 11. September 7, 2022 in Washington DC.
(Alex Brandon/Poole via Reuters)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has denied that the Lachin Corridor, which links Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, was subject to a blockade, instead insisting that authorities in the region were forced to halt a mining project that is the main cause of traffic disruption, Reuters reported.

At press time, the Azerbaijani embassy in the United States had not responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

During an Orthodox Christmas address this month, Aliyev denied the allegations, saying that Azerbaijan is “the native land of all who live here, regardless of language, religion or ethnicity. Relations of friendship and brotherhood between individual peoples and religions, which are based on mutual respect and trust, have been established in our country, where a high culture of coexistence reigns.”

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The Azerbaijani constitution also emphasizes that the government cannot interfere in religious activities, giving the government and citizens the right to fight “religious extremism” and “radicalism”, in particular, giving the government the right to dissolve religious organizations that cause racial, national, religious or social enmity. according to the 2022 US Department of State report.

Russia stated that it “continues painstakingly and difficult work with both Armenia and Azerbaijan“to resolve the dispute and the blockade, but European officials criticized Moscow for its general passivity on this issue, which allowed it to develop up to this point.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken asked the Azerbaijani president to redouble efforts to secure a peace deal with Armenia, but human rights groups have begun urging Biden to do more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (center), Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (left) and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at a press conference following a meeting on the implementation of the November 9 truce in Nagorno-Karabakh and measures to resolve problems in the region.  , in Moscow Jan.  11, 2021.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (center), Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (left) and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at a press conference following a meeting on the implementation of the November 9 truce in Nagorno-Karabakh and measures to resolve problems in the region. , in Moscow Jan. 11, 2021.
(Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters)

“Azerbaijan is taking advantage of Russia’s distraction to push the remaining Armenians out of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Sam Brownback, a former U.S. special envoy for religious freedom worldwide, told Fox News Digital. “This blockade is designed to make Nagorno-Karabakh uninhabitable for this ancient, predominantly Christian population.”

“The US, Europe and the rest of the world must not let this happen,” he added. “The blockade must end quickly and not be repeated.”

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The Armenian National Committee of America posted on its website 14 risk factors for genocide monitored by the United Nations are currently present in the region. The group accused the Azerbaijani government of fomenting official hatred and impunity for atrocities committed against Armenians in the region.

Estonian MEP Marina Kaljurand called on Azerbaijan to also refrain from using “high-level inflammatory rhetoric” that contributed to discrimination against Armenians, and the European Parliament called on the Azerbaijani government to lift the blockade, but so far there has been no sign of change. , by Open Democracy.

View of the Taghavard village in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, January.  16, 2021.

View of the Taghavard village in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, January. 16, 2021.
(Reuters/Artem Mikryukov/File photo)

Bashir Kitachaev, an Azerbaijani freelance journalist who specializes in the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, wrote that any Armenians in the region who take Azerbaijani citizenship will face “rampant anti-Armenian sentiment or state-fuelled Armenophobia.”

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“The country must take real steps towards democracy and abandon the national-patriotic identity based on hatred of Armenians,” Kitachaev wrote, criticizing the government for “aggravating the humanitarian crisis … when it could have created the conditions for peace.”

Reuters contributed to this report.