Yerevan, 02.12.2020

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APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION COMMUNITY

FROM THE SECTORAL NATIONAL TRADE UNIONS OF ARMENIA

 

Dear colleagues,

Already for month Armenia and Artsakh are involved in large-scale war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Armenian-populated unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh Republic).

This conflict has a long history.

Back in 1918, the population of Artsakh (95% of which were Armenians) declared an independence and refused to become a part of first Azerbaijan Republic, resisting the Azerbaijani and Turkish massacres and pogroms. On the 4th of July, 1921, during the formation of Soviet Republics on the South Caucasus, Artsakh became the part of Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), but the very next day, with meddling of Stalin, Artsakh was forcibly incorporated into Azerbaijani SSR, as a Nagorno-Karabagh Autonomous Region.

Even during the era of Soviet Union, the authorities of Azerbaijani SSR systematically conducted a discriminatory policy towards the Armenian population in Karabagh Autonomous region.

In the 1988, the liberation movement in Karabagh was reborn. The National Council of Karabagh, using its right of self-determination, issued an appeal towards Supreme Councils of both Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs, requesting to separate the Karabagh from Azerbaijan. However, as a responce, the authorities in Azerbaijan organized massed pogroms and killings of Armenian residents in the cities of Baku and Sumgait.

In the 1991, during the dissolution of Soviet Union, according the right of self-determination, the population of Karabagh once again expressed its desire, through a referendum, to be separated from Azerbaijan. As result, the war erupted in the Karabagh, which lasted for 4 years. The people of Karabagh eventually have fought their independence, and on May 12th, 1994 a tripartite ceasefire agreement was reached between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Artsakh Republic.

The unrecognized Republic of Artsakh exists for already about 30 years. It is a country with its own Constitution, with Government, with all attributes of democratic republic, with developed civil society, including trade unions. During these years, trade unions of Artsakh achieved remarkable results in the evolvement of social partnership and promotion of workers rights, despite the fact, that they have been isolated from international trade union movement.

During all these last 3 decades, Azerbaijan has been demonstrating unacceptance of any compromises, insisting on the return of Karabagh to its control, and rejection of the fundamental rights of Karabagh Armenians for self-determination. Such attitude diminished all the peace efforts by international mediators. On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan, with active support of Turkey and terrorist mercenary fighters, unleashed the extensive military attack on Artsakh. 

This is already the third war, initiated by Azerbaijan towards the independent Artsakh Republic, that chose the path of democracy.

Despite international humanitarian principles, the military forces of Azerbaijan, with use of internationally banned weapons, deliberately attacked civil infrastructures — schools, hospitals, kindergartens, cultural sites, churches. Women, children, and elderly are being killed, more than 90 thousand of people became refugees, around 24 thousand of children have lost their right of education.  We have witnessed war crimes, where civilians were executed, doctors and journalists were targeted by the enemy.  

Today, not only Artsakh and Armenia, but the whole region is on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.

Turkey, which went unpunished for conducting Armenian genocide hundred years ago, once again declares the intention to exterminate Armenian people.

The society of Armenia came together to fight the aggressor.

Trade unions of Armenia are actively taking part by offering its resources and capacity to help families of Artsakh who left homeless, to offer an aid to the families of wounded and killed trade union members.

During the recent days, many international organizations, state leaders, as well as international trade unions keep the neutrality, and call both sides of conflict to cease the fire and resume the peaceful talks. However, in this conflict the sides are not equal. The defending side is not able to simply stop defending itself, while the attacking side, on behalf of Azerbaijan, Turkey and terrorist fighters, is continuing the attack.

What happens today in Artsakh once again proves, that the only long-term guarantee of the safety for residents of Artsakh is the international recognition of Artsakh Republic. Any other status, that it will get as a part of Azerbaijan, will be life-threatening for the Artsakh people, and history proved this multiple times.

We appeal to all the trade unions! Our mission is to always defend the human rights, to fight for the justice. Please do not be silent, call your governments. The right of self-determination of the people must be recognized by international community in sake of the salvation of people who reside there. We count on your solidarity!

Signees:

Union of state, local government, and public service employees of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of workers of health sector of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of the culture workers of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of miners, metallurgy, and jewelry workers of Republic of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of the employees of municipal economy and public utilities of Republic of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of workers of education and science of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of employees of financial institutions and professional employees of banks of Armenia

The republican branch union of trade union organizations of industrial workers of Republic of Armenia

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of the workers of agricultural industry sector

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of commerce, catering, consumer cooperatives and entrepreneurship workers of Armenia

“Electro-union” – a Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations

Republican Branch Union of trade union organizations of workers of light industry of Armenia

Branch Republican Union “Miabanutyun” of Professional Organizations of information technology, aviation and means of communication workers of Armenia