PACE has called on Azerbaijan to “create a climate of trust and the material conditions” for Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh to be able to return to their homeland – including active steps to encourage and reassure them to do so.
In a resolution based on a report by Domagoj Hajduković (Croatia, SOC) following an urgent debate, the Assembly regretted the “long-standing and continuing failure on the part of the authorities of Azerbaijan to reassure the Armenian population of the region of their safety and the full respect of their rights”.
Almost the entire Armenian population of the region had left their ancestral homeland and fled to Armenia “out of a genuine threat of physical extinction, a long-standing policy of hatred in Azerbaijan towards Armenians, and a lack of trust in their future treatment”, the parliamentarians pointed out.
“It is not too late for Azerbaijan to redress the situation and prove its goodwill,” they said, noting Azerbaijan’s promises that the rights and freedoms of Armenian residents will be ensured, and its plans with respect to the reintegration of Armenian residents.
The Assembly also said the massive exodus of almost the entire Armenian population from the region had led to “allegations and reasonable suspicion that this can amount to ethnic cleansing”. Noting Azerbaijan’s strong statements refuting such allegations and suspicions, it called on the authorities to “spare no efforts in proving in deeds and words that this is not the case”.
It asked the Azerbaijani authorities to provide full and detailed information on the measures which have already been taken, and that are planned, to protect and enhance the rights and freedoms of the Armenians from this region under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Among other things, the Assembly also called on Azerbaijan to avoid expressions of intolerance or revenge for past events, to protect the Armenian cultural heritage of the region, to release all detained representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as all Armenian prisoners of war currently held in Azerbaijan, and to allow access to the region for Council of Europe institutions and bodies.
Should Azerbaijan fail to fulfil its obligations, the Assembly said it would have “no other alternative than to call for the initiation of a complementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly in response to a serious violation by Azerbaijan of its statutory obligations, and challenge the credentials of the Azerbaijani delegation at its first part-session of 2024”.