On June 20, the world marked Refugee Day. On this occasion, many people joined together and tried to take a step with refugees. The brutal Armenian invasion that has haunted Azerbaijan since 1988 and has displaced nearly one million Azerbaijani civilians, forcing them to flee their war-torn home and seek consolation and protection from horrifying conditions. As human beings, the least we can do for those affected by this epic crisis is to try to empathize and understand their agony, and to recognize their essential humanity. This global crisis also requires collective action, particularly in addressing refugee protection needs. It is a global responsibility to aid the millions of refugees adrift in the world and to end their suffering.
Today Azerbaijan has the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. Armenian invasion resulted in brutal massacres and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijani civilian population. More than 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians were forcibly expelled from their homes and land. Together with 250,000 Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia, the number of Azerbaijani refugees reached over 1 million. Following the invasion, Armenia established the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” (NKR) on the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. The whole world is aware of various aspects of this occupation and its repercussions. Today we are going to represent our readers an interview published on eprees.am where an Armenian refugee talks about the hostile conditions in her native land, in Armenia.
“It would be better to talk about how we have been treated in Armenia,” says Rima, Armenian refugee from Baku. She has been living in Armenia for 30 years.
Rima says Armenian government misuse the subsidies for refugees and seldom percolate to them. Refugees even refused to give their ID Cards to the responsible officials as they believe that the Government will use them for their money laundering activities.
When the new government took power in May 2018, we wrote a letter to Pashinyan. We said that we’ve been writing for 30 years and that the response has been that no money has been allocated. Ghazaryan said that the subsidies that Armenia gets for refugees go into the state treasury. Where does that money go? Once in 2014, a working group comprised of four ministries came to re-register us. They offered certificates and asked us for copies of our passports. Nobody gave as they could do something in our names. Any kind of fraud can be done with a copy of a passport. In the very year, 70 certificates were issued, but none has given to refugees.
She says Armenian authorities hide the real number of refugees to get more money from different International Humanitarian Organizations: “The UN provides certain figures, but here they give us different figures. Here, we are few, there, we are many. So that they get more money.
Arman Melikyan and Eleonora, his lawyer, and some others presented us with a document and told us to sign it. That document was very strange. It was an appeal to the President of Karabakh to restore the property left in Azerbaijan. First, yes, we admit that Karabakh is a separate country, but that legally there is no such country. So naturally, there is no president. So what does the Karabakh president have to do with the property that remained in Azerbaijan? Do you know what a contradiction this is? Karabakh is a separate country, but it is responsible for the Azerbaijani property. I said we will not sign this. Arman Melikyan said that all the refugees were citizens of Karabakh. It’s funny now, but at the moment I was just angry. I said, how were we citizens of Karabakh? We all were citizens of the USSR, born in Azerbaijan SSR. What do you mean, by saying citizens of Karabakh? Arman Melikyan spoke about a program where each refugee gets one hectare of land in Karabakh and how they want refugees to move there. I said we were against it. I never speak in the name of my dormitory because there are 34 families there, but I say that in this case, we are not going to go there. Not because Nagorno-Karabakh is a horrible place, but because we came to Armenia, and now you are sending us to Karabakh. I appealed to the Karabakh Refugee Committee, they said that they had 11,000 refugees and that they couldn’t resettle them in Armenia.”
This story by an Armenian refugee proves that the majority of Karabakh population does not consists of “ethnic Armenians” as the opposite side claims and that the resettlement of the Armenian refugees in Karabakh, the internationally recognized Azerbaijan territory is a part of Armenia’s provocative deliberate resettlement plan. By claiming the property in Azerbaijan and looking for that property in Karabakh proves that Karabakh is Azerbaijan.