World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Bachelet Urges Protection For Civilians Amid Escalation In Hostilities

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday expressed her alarm at the suffering of civilians as hostilities continue to widen along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone – also impacting other populated areas outside the immediate area of fighting – and called for an urgent ceasefire due to the impact on civilians.

Since the latest violence erupted on 27 September, artillery strikes have reportedly hit a number of cities, towns and villages. Information from different sources, which the UN Human Rights Office has not been able to independently verify, suggests that as of 8 October some 53 civilians had been killed, including children, as a result of the hostilities. A large number of buildings, including houses, schools, and other civilian facilities are reported to have been destroyed – the vast majority were located in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“It is deeply worrying that in recent days we have seen populated areas reportedly targeted and shelled with heavy weaponry in and around the conflict area,” said Bachelet.

“I remind all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, abiding by the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution and avoiding the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas,” she stressed.

“I also remind all States, particularly those with influence over parties to the conflict, that they are required by international law to do everything within their power to ensure respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.”

The High Commissioner also highlighted deeply troubling reports that cluster munitions had been used in the conflict area.

“Cluster munitions scatter small, often bright or colourful bomblets over wide areas, many of which fail to explode immediately but can then kill and maim for years afterwards,” Bachelet said. “The use of such munitions should stop immediately. I also urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to join the more than 100 States that have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions which comprehensively bans their use.”

The High Commissioner also called on all parties to this conflict, which has persisted for more than 30 years, to refrain from using inflammatory, pejorative or discriminatory language to stoke divisions.

“Hate speech leads nowhere but to a mutually dehumanizing and destructive hatred that, as we tragically see now, periodically erupts into conflict and loss of life. What is needed from everyone, including political leaders, is constructive dialogue aimed at protecting human rights and fostering a sustainable political solution to the conflict,” Bachelet said.

The High Commissioner also voiced concern at how the outbreak of renewed hostilities was posing a direct health threat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with all parties to the conflict struggling to contain the spread of the virus.

“As the violence continues, some civilians have reportedly moved to basements or other shelters that risk of offering no possibility of maintaining physical distance to limit the spread of the COVID-19, and limiting people’s access to clean water and sanitation,” the High Commissioner said.

“Access to healthcare must be ensured, and this includes providing psychosocial support for victims of this conflict, including those harmed as a result of the latest hostilities and those affected over the more than three decades of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Bachelet stressed.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Afghanistan: Record Number Of Women And Children Killed Or Wounded

More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009, a United Nations report revealed on Monday... More>>

Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Food Systems: More Than 100 Countries Discuss Visions For Futures To Accelerate Global Action Ahead Of September Summit

More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030... More>>

Food Systems: Italian & Rwandan Leaders Join Urgent Call To Transform World’s Food Systems As Pre-Summit Begins

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame stress need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches ahead of the Summit in New York in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>