September 30, 2022
The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
Dear Honourable Mr. Prime Minister:
You may be aware that as of September 13, 2022, at 12:05 am local time, the Republic of Azerbaijan launched an unprovoked and unjustified large-scale military aggression in several directions from the eastern part of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, deep within the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. Using heavy artillery, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Azerbaijani armed forces started intensive shelling of the cities of Goris, Jermuk, Vardenis, Kapan, Sotk, and nearby villages, deliberately targeting civilian populations and vital civilian infrastructure. Around 192 houses, 3 hotels, 2 schools, 1 medical facility, 7 electrical facilities, 5 water facilities, 3 gas pipelines, and 1 bridge were damaged. The number of victims and missing persons currently exceeds 207. No doubt, committing such unspeakable atrocities is a direct result of a decades long policy of implanting anti-Armenian hatred and animosity in the Azerbaijani society by political leadership.
It is critical to note that this was not a border clash. It was a direct, undeniable attack against the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Armenia, yet another flagrant violation by Azerbaijan of the Charter of the United Nations, the Helsinki Final Act, and the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020. Azerbaijan’s latest aggression was also condemned and addressed during the latest UN Security Council meetings and beyond.
Armenian-Azerbaijani borders remain extremely tense, and the Republic of Armenia has been warning the international community about the possibility of renewed aggression by Azerbaijan against Armenia and Artsakh. The actions of Azerbaijan and its supporters (Russia and Turkey) should have served as an early warning signal for the international community. Aggressive statements and actions by Azerbaijan, as well as claims made repeatedly against Armenia and its sovereign territory by Azerbaijan’s high-level officials, require a strong, clear, and unambiguous message from the international community stressing that any further armed aggression or similar action by Azerbaijan that could further escalate the already fragile situation in the region, will not be tolerated. If these actions continue, it is necessary for the Republic of Azerbaijan to face consequences for the use of force and for its violation of the UN Charter of Human Rights. This is an attack not only on sovereignty but also against the democracy of the Republic of Armenia and international law and order more broadly.
In this regard, and in the interest of regional stability, we, the members of the Zoryan Institute and the Canadian Armenian Community, request a snap meeting with you to discuss the Government of Canada’s action plan to address the Azerbaijan’s acts of aggression, threatening the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democracy of the Republic of Armenia. We would also like to call on the Government of Canada to take the following actions:
- Demand the withdrawal of Azerbaijani military forces from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia in accordance with norms and principles of international law;
- Launch an international observation mission to the Armenia-Azerbaijan bordering areas to help secure regional stability;
- Support the secure and unhindered access of UN humanitarian agencies to Nagorno- Karabakh in order to assess the humanitarian and human rights situation and ensure protection of cultural heritage on the ground.
- Help to ensure that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the independent fact-finding mission of UNESCO has access to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
- Help to ensure that the rights and the security of the Armenians living in Nagorno- Karabakh are addressed and guaranteed.
Mr. Prime Minister, Canada enjoys and prides itself for its long-standing reputation as a defender of universal human rights and international peace. It is only befitting that Canadian values have influence on these critical matters.
K.M. Greg Sarkissian, C.M., President of the Zoryan Institute
Dr. Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of Moderna, Co-Founder of Aurora Prize
Dr. Atom Egoyan, C.C., Canadian Filmmaker
Vahan Kololian, C.M., Entrepreneur, Investor, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Mosaic Institute
Prof. Doris Bergen, Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies
Prof. Roger W. Smith, Past President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars
Armine Yalnizyan, Economist and Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers
Arsinée Khanjian, Actress, Performer, Producer, and Civil Rights Activist
Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, C.M., Professor of Electrical Engineering, McGill University
Prof. Alan Whitehorn, Professor Emeritus of Political Science