Azerbaijan’s humanitarian gesture to Armenians migrants questioned by critics

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Azerbaijan police distribute water and food to ethnic Armenians who are fleeing from Nagorno Karabakh—in a show of humanitarian gesture, but critics say it is a propaganda stunt to cover up the harsh reality behind the scenes.

According to a news website based in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani police distributed water to ethnic Armenians of Karabakh, who were stuck in traffic jams on the road from Khankendi to Koris. The website claimed that this demonstrated the humanism of Azerbaijan and the police.

However, some observers have questioned the sincerity of this gesture, pointing out that Azerbaijan has been imposing a blockade on the Lachin corridor, the only lifeline for the population in Nagorno-Karabakh, since February 2023. Amnesty International has warned that this blockade is putting thousands of lives in peril by denying them access to food, medicine and other essential goods.

Moreover, Azerbaijan has been accused of violating the human rights of ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, who have been living under the control of Azerbaijani forces since the end of the six-week war in 2020.

Various reports by Human Rights groups documented numerous cases of torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, and confiscation of property by Azerbaijani soldiers and officials against ethnic Armenians.

Some analysts have suggested that Azerbaijan is trying to use the image of police distributing water and food to ethnic Armenians, who fled from Nagorno Karabakh after the recent military operation, as a way to improve its international reputation and deflect attention from its abuses in Nagorno-Karabakh. They argue that this is a cynical attempt to exploit the plight of the migrants for political gain.

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