The Municipality of Western Azerbaijan, as an organization representing Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia and defending their right to return, strongly condemns the false accusations made by the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, Azernews reports.
The Municipality’s declaration reads:
“We, the Western Azerbaijan Community, the organization representing the Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia and advocating for their right to return, strongly condemn the false allegations made by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia,” the Community said in a statement.
“As it became clear from the video footage of the press conference of 25 July 2023, which was published a few days ago, Prime Minister Pashinyan made a baseless and contradictory claim of a “voluntary departure” of Azerbaijanis from Armenia and “payment of compensation”. First of all, it should be noted that ‘compensation’ implies acknowledgment of wrongdoing and loss, which contradicts the assertion of a voluntary departure. If the mass exodus was truly voluntary, why would compensation be offered? Secondly, we categorically refute the claim that Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia received any form of compensation in exchange for renouncing their right to return.
As a community that has suffered greatly due to forced expulsion, we stand firm in our demand for the right to return to our ancestral lands in Armenia.
The mentioned allegations are yet another attempt by the Armenian Prime Minister to distort the truth and evade responsibility for the injustices that Armenia committed against our community. Armenian Government’s unfounded claims only deepen the pain of expelled Azerbaijanis, further complicating the path to peace and reconciliation. The Armenian Government’s refusal to enable the realization of the universally recognized right of the expelled Azerbaijanis to return to their homes exposes how insincere they are in their claim to be committed to democratic values and human rights. This refusal on the part of Armenia unequivocally proves that Armenia practices Azerbaijan-phobic ethnic discrimination, and pursues a policy of “no national minority, no problem”.
We urge Armenia to take inspiration from Azerbaijan, which, in a significant move, enabled the safe return of ethnic Armenians to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan after the end of the conflict in 2020. Armenia has to demonstrate the same level of respect for human rights and international law and enable the right of Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia to return to their homes in safety and with dignity.
We demand that the Government of Armenia cease spreading false allegations and engage in meaningful dialogue with our Community to address the legitimate concerns of the Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia.”