Nagorno-Karabakh blockade: Canadian-Armenian woman calls for international action & More Trending News


When the electrical energy comes again on, Huri Zohrabyan limits the warmth to 1 room, shutting the doorways so it could possibly’t escape.

It’s change into a part of on a regular basis life in Nagorno-Karabakh, the place energy outages are a day by day incidence and winter winds are chilly.

Zohrabyan is amongst 120,000 folks dwelling within the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked enclave populated primarily by ethnic Armenians however acknowledged internationally as a part of Azerbaijan.

Born in Lebanon however of Armenian descent, Zohrabyan immigrated to Montreal as a youngster. After marrying her husband 2021, she made her option to his homeland: Nagorno-Karabakh, referred to as Artsakh by Armenians.

Soon after, in December 2022, the one street connecting the area to Armenia and the surface world — the Lachin hall — was blockaded by protesters claiming to be environmental activists.

As a end result, meals, drugs and gasoline are in dangerously quick provide.

“With this blockade, since the road is closed, we don’t receive anything. The stores are empty,” Zohrabyan advised CTV News over a video name on Wednesday. “The stores are empty, the pharmacies are empty. We have run out of vegetables … fruits, oil, rice, flour.”

Gas is regularly reduce off, electrical energy comes and goes, and well being care has taken a severe hit. Schools and lots of companies have closed, furthering financial instability.

“It’s a survival problem here,” Zohrabyan mentioned. “Azerbaijan is creating a humanitarian crisis.”

Nagorno-Karabakh has lengthy been a centrepoint of battle between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In 2020, the previous launched an offensive to take the area, ensuing within the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Six weeks of bloodshed ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire.

Azerbaijan regained management of elements of the disputed territories, and Russia despatched a peacekeeping power to take care of order.

Two years later, the demonstrators at present blocking the Lachin hall declare to be protesting illegitimate mining. But Zohrabyan and lots of Armenians consider the blockades are a strategic assault on Karabakh’s inhabitants.

“Their motive, their goal, is always to do the ethnic filtration of Armenians,” mentioned Zohrabyan. “I think that’s [their] goal, is just to create panic and make it unlivable.”

Like many, Zohrabyan has questioned whether or not she and her husband will keep in Karabakh when the blockades are lifted.

But for now, she would not intend to go away.

“If we start to think that this place is a place where we cannot live anymore, then Azerbaijan is going to reach its goal. So yes, sometimes we think that, ‘Should we stay here? Should we leave?’ But at the end, you know, it’s our homeland. We have to fight for it,” she mentioned.

“We also have to have faith. We have to hope that everything will be okay.”

Huri Zohrabyan (proper) and her husband Petros Asryan (left). (Courtesy picture)


Sevag Belian is the manager director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada.

While Canada has referred to as upon authorities in Azerbaijan to raise the blockade, he says the nation ought to do extra to fight the disaster.

“We expect the Canadian government to ramp up diplomatic efforts to apply that pressure politically and economically, whether that may come into in the form of sanctions or anything else on Azerbaijan,” Belian advised CTV News.

He mentioned Canada and different nations ought to act earlier than tensions derail even additional, maybe even by lending help “on the ground.”

“Canada has very, very rich experience in terms of peacekeeping and peacemaking. And certainly, efforts from Canada and like-minded countries would be very much welcomed on the ground,” Belian mentioned, noting the shaky state of Russian peacemakers at present serving Nagorno-Karabakh — the identical peacekeepers charged with protecting the Lachin hall safe.

In an analogous vein, Huri Zohrabyan needs to see extra international consciousness of the disaster.

She regularly compares life in Canada to life in Karabakh, and the distinction is putting.

“I’ve seen how people live in Canada. Why [do] people here have to struggle, you know, in their homeland?” she mentioned. “Why [can’t] children can have a normal education, why can’t they live in peace?”

“After 45 days, the time has come really to [be] more active in this matter. Not only Canada, but the whole world.”

Nagorno-Karabakh blockade: Canadian-Armenian woman calls for international action

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