First death from famine in Artsakh province

On August 15, a man died of starvation in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) during the genocidal blockade of Azerbaijan.

Artsakh human rights defender Gegham Stepanyan confirmed this information. Stepanakert resident K. Hovhannisyan was born in 1983 and died of chronic malnutrition, protein and energy deficiency.

According to the conclusions of the forensic medical examination and the death certificate of K. Hovhannisyan, the cause of his death was: “Severe dyspepsia (general exhaustion, edema, various forms of metabolic disturbance and changes in organs due to prolonged and incomplete intake of nutrients)” and its dysfunction), cachexia, protein energy deficiency, kwashiorkor (a specific severe eating disorder that occurs due to insufficient protein content of food, severe living conditions and low standard of living contribute to the development of the disease), and Bilateral multisegmental pneumonia predominantly in the right buttock, pulmonary edema, mixed metabolism, anoxic encephalopathy, visceral renal dystrophy, anemia, sepsis, right pleural effusion, chronic malnutrition”.

Azerbaijan’s genocidal blockade of Artsakh

Since December 12, 2022, Azerbaijani special operations teams, disguised as civilian environmentalists, have blocked the Stepanakert-Goris highway in the Lachin Corridor. During the blockade, the group received direct assistance from the Azerbaijani authorities, posturing against the racist organization Gray Wolves and provoking Russian peacekeepers. Ironically, many self-proclaimed “environmentalists” wore animal fur coats and even killed a pigeon in a video that went viral on social media. Azerbaijani authorities cut off Artsakh’s gas supply as well as telecommunications and internet during the winter, while not allowing repairs to the electricity infrastructure.

A total of 120,000 people were besieged in Artsakh without access to food, medicine or basic items, while 1,100 people, including 270 children, were unable to return to Artsakh from Armenia. On December 14, Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan ordered martial law in the area to ensure the safety of the people and the proper distribution of food, medicine and essential items. A 44-year-old patient died on December 19 after being unable to receive necessary medical care. So far, the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Canada, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and Lithuania They called on Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin Corridor. On February 22, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s main judicial body, ruled that Azerbaijan must “take all measures within its powers to guarantee the free movement of people, vehicles and goods within the Lachin Corridor”. Although it is a binding ruling, Azerbaijan has not complied with the order. On March 21, the 100th day of the genocidal blockade, the Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh published a report listing all human rights violations suffered by the 120,000 people of Artsakh. On April 23, Azerbaijan set up a military checkpoint at the entrance of the highway and officially imposed a blockade, abandoning the illusion of so-called environmental protests. On June 12, six months after the blockade, the authorities released a report outlining the aftermath of the humanitarian catastrophe inflicted on Azerbaijan.

Since June 15, Azerbaijan has banned the entry of humanitarian aid provided by Russian peacekeeping forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross to the people, and blocked the entrance to the Hakkari Bridge. On July 6, the International Court of Justice reaffirmed its ruling of February 22, 2023, ordering Azerbaijan to guarantee the free passage of the Lachin Corridor. On July 26, Azerbaijan blocked the delivery of a convoy carrying a large amount of humanitarian aid to Artsakh. On July 29, Azerbaijan kidnapped the 68-year-old patient Vajiv Khachaturian during a transfer by the Red Cross, charged him with trumped-up charges and imprisoned him in Baku. On August 7, international law expert Luis Moreno Ocampo concluded in a report that “the 120,000 Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh are suffering genocide.” On August 15, the first person died of famine in Artsakh.

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