Azerbaijan's Obstruction of the Stepanakert Airport is Another Threat Veiled under Promises of Human Rights Protection and Security

26 OCTOBER 2022, Press Releases

Azerbaijan, which promises to protect the rights and security of the people of Artsakh, has been keeping the Stepanakert airport closed for 30 years with its threats, depriving the people of Artsakh of the most important tool for realizing the right to free movement. In 2012, when the Stepanakert Airport was put into operation after the renovation the authorities of Baku directly stated that they would destroy civilian aircraft flying to Stepanakert.

The cases of targeting civilian infrastructures that we witnessed during the 2020 war, were an indication that the Azerbaijani leadership is ready and able to resort to any kind of war crime, including targeting civilian aircraft.

The Stepanakert Airport was built in 1974 after numerous demands of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to create the possibility of air communication with Armenia. Stepanakert-Yerevan and Stepanakert-Baku and opposite directions were operating. Nevertheless, contrary to the existing demand, the authorities of Soviet Azerbaijan had set a very limited number of flights to Yerevan.

Various sources indicate that in parallel to the Artsakh Movement, Azerbaijan had started taking actions to close the airport. This was done through large-scale construction in the neighboring Ivanyan community: residential buildings were being built right next to the runway to obstruct the airport’s operations and to stop it.

Civilian transportation from Stepanakert Airport had been stopped since 1992 as a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh.

About 100 000 civilian flights are carried out daily in the world but none of these flights reach Stepanakert.

The policy of discrimination and hatred towards the people of Artsakh is expressed in any action taken by Azerbaijan. We expect courage from all institutions and individuals interested in human rights protection to see, record and counteract the criminal actions of Azerbaijan.