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Diana Ghazaryan

Why Are the Offices of the UN and UNICEF in Armenia Silent?

A few days ago, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Ghulam Isaczai and UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan Edward Carvardin visited the town of Ganja to get acquainted with the consequences of the war on the ground. 

The officials expressed concern over the damage done to the civilian population and infrastructure and offered their assistance.

Meanwhile, the UN Office in Armenia and UNICEF have not yet commented on the damage done to civilian settlements in Armenia and Artsakh, or on the deaths and injuries of civilians. It was only this morning, under public pressure, that they issued a statement referring to the case of a 14-year-old boy who was seriously injured in Armenia’s Gegharkunik region from an Azerbaijani drone attack.

On October 12, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Gulam Isaczai wrote on his Twitter account that he had visited "a site of major attack on a residential area of Ganja city." He expressed condolences for the human losses and victims.   Isaczai once again called for the protection of the civilian population, the civilian infrastructure protected by international humanitarian law. "The UN is ready to respond to humanitarian needs if needed," said Ghulam Isaczai, Coordinator in Azerbaijan.

For two days now, Armenian social media users have been writing to the UNICEF Armenia Office expressing their concern over the visit of the representatives of the Azerbaijani office of the organization to Ganja. They’re demanding an adequate response to the situation of the killed and injured residents and children in Armenia and Artsakh.

It was only today, in his Twitter microblog, that UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia Shombi Sharp made a post.  

"We, the UN Office in Armenia, are saddened by the news of the serious injury of a 14-year-old boy in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia. We extend our deepest condolences to all the victims and reiterate the UN Secretary-General's call for the protection of the civilian population through a ceasefire and humanitarian law."

Hetq applied to the UN Office in Armenia yesterday to ask them to comment on their silence at a time when civilians in Armenia and Artsakh are being targeted. We have not received any comment from the office so far.

The response of the Azerbaijani and Armenian UNICEF to the war situation

Edward Carvardin, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan, issued a statement on his visit to Ganja on October 13.

"During my visit to Ganja yesterday, I personally saw the situation of the children. I was saddened to hear that more children were injured over the weekend. I offer my condolences to the victims," ​​said Edward Carvardin.

During the visit, he recalled the urgent call of UNICEF for the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructure, and stressed that the cessation of hostilities is in the interests of all children.

During the visit, Edward Carvardin spoke with Hikmet Haji, an aide to Ilham Aliyev, offering UNICEF assistance in responding to children, families, especially psychological trauma, and keeping children safe from unexploded ordnance. They agreed to provide urgent assistance.

The UNICEF Armenia Office told Hetq yesterday that they are aware of the concerns of the Armenian public and are working on it but cannot comment at this time.

However, under public pressure, the UNICEF Armenia Office this morning issued the following statement:

"We learned with sorrow that in the Sotk community of Gegharkunik region a 14-year-old child was seriously injured on the way to the field to harvest. We are wholeheartedly with him all the children who have suffered from this conflict. UNICEF reaffirms its immediate call to protect the population and civilian infrastructure. The immediate cessation of hostilities is in the best interests of every child.”

The office noted that they are working with their partners to provide social and psychological support to children affected by the conflict and to meet their other needs.


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