Human security as the utmost concern in Nagorny Karabakh

Just several days after humanitarian corridors[1] were reopened to Nagorny Karabakh[2], Azerbaijan launched another large-scale military operation, putting the lives and security of the population in Nagorny Karabakh in grave danger. While a ceasefire has been agreed and talks around a new political settlement have been scheduled for September 21, it is imperative to ensure that the human rights, safety, and security of the population remain the highest priority.

Prior to the attack, the population residing in Nagorny Karabakh was experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of the mobility restrictions. This in turn led to a severe shortage of basic necessities, such as food, fuel, energy, transportation, and healthcare, as well as education, information, employment, and human security on the ground. These shortages are bound to become even more severe in the current crisis, which is likely to result in an overwhelming number of displacements.

The heaviest impact of the resumption of military hostilities, the wave of displacements, and preceding shortages is experienced by women and marginalised groups, such as persons with disabilities, LGBTI people, the elderly, those living with HIV and other conditions, single mothers, those that have been displaced as a result of the Second Nagorny Karabakh war in 2020.

During times of crisis, the level of propaganda increases significantly, and means of communication are disrupted, which affects the flow of information. This crisis and current political shift are likely to take a heavy psychosocial toll on the mental health of the populations.

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation stands in solidarity with the women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and women’s rights organisations working to support the affected populations on multiple levels, and in light of the alarming criticality of the situation, and the upcoming talks, urgently calls on the following:

  • For the parties involved to maintain the ceasefire agreement, prevent any resumption of violence, and ensure regular and sustainable platforms for dialogue;
  • For the Azerbaijani authorities to guarantee the safety and security of the ethnic Armenian population in Nagorny Karabakh;
  • For the Azerbaijani authorities, to guarantee a safe and dignified evacuation corridors for the displaced population and the provision of essential means for their support, ensuring a gender lens in the planning of this support;
  • For the responsible parties, to guarantee long-term support to displaced populations to live in dignity, such as food, shelter, medical and hygienic supplies, as well as legal and psychosocial support;
  • For all the parties involved, including local and national actors, to ensure measures for the mitigation of radicalised narratives and to refrain from spreading unverified information that could fuel conflict and violence;
  • For humanitarian organisations to ensure that gendered items, such as hygiene kits, menstrual products, birth control/contraceptive options, and emergency supplies for pregnant women, are integral and regular components of humanitarian aid packages;
  • For international political entities, such as the EU, US, UK, etc. to maintain regular consultations with WHRDs, women’s rights organisations and marginalised groups to ensure gendered analysis and policy advice, and consultations on monitoring the human rights situation;
  • For international donors and funders to provide flexible, emergency, crisis response, and sustainable resources to women’s rights organisations and marginalised groups working to support the affected populations.

[1] International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Azerbaijan/Armenia: Humanitarian consensus allows ICRC to deliver humanitarian relief,

[2] A conflict-affected enclave, populated by ethnic Armenians, under the governance of de facto Nagorny Karabakh authorities that experienced an influx of displaced persons and constant challenges to human security post-2020 Second Karabakh War

—South Caucasus office, The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation 

To learn more about the conflict over Nagorny Karabakh, read the following resources: