Monday, November 16, 2020: With the recently signed ceasefire agreement ending weeks of combat in Artsakh, Armenia is now left to confront the immense impacts of the war.

Armenia’s signing of the Russian-brokered peace deal to end the heavy fighting between Artsakh and Azerbaijan on November 9, 2020 has prompted large protests in Yerevan. Many Armenians are calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister and are urging Armenia to withdraw from the cease-fire agreement. Prime Minister Pashinyan is publically standing by his decision to sign this ceasefire stating that this “document does not envisage a substantive solution to the issue: only a cessation of hostilities.”

Notwithstanding the above, this agreement presents Armenia with the opportunity to now focus its attention to the peoplewho were impacted by the weeks of violence. Immediate humanitarian action is needed to ensure the wellbeing and the future protection of the peoples of Artsakh.

As of October 27, 2020, the Government of the Republic of Armenia estimated that over 90,000 Armenians fled from Artsakh due to the vast destruction of homes, schools, churches and public spaces.  The welfare and safety of the internally displaced peoples (IDPs) and refugees, and the survivors who continue to live in Artsakh, must remain the upmost concern for Armenia. To rebuild areas of destruction, provide humanitarian aid for displaced families, and support to wounded soldiers, the stability of the state and the proper function of its government should not be compromised by threats of violence and demands.

The confidence of the Armenian people in its democratically elected government must not be undermined.  Armenia’s institutions must continue to operate with even greater efficiency and determination than before, and the nation’s leaders must find the courage and wisdom to make the tough decisions and ensure that the rule of law continues to prevail.  If changes are required for the nation, then they must be made constitutionally through fair elections and by an orderly change in state management and policy. This will ultimately guarantee a better outcome for the nation.

As past evidence has shown, Armenian people have the tremendous ability to persevere in the face of adversity.  Armenians have both the will and the resources to recover from this conflict and gain renewed strength from its recovery, but only if they act as a united nation, including the Diaspora.  It is not the time for Armenia to be divided. Armenian people around the world need to join together in solidarity for the sake of security, stability and the future of Armenia and Artsakh.

Zoryan Institute, a non-profit organization, serves the cause of scholarship and public awareness relating to issues of universal human rights, genocide, and diaspora-homeland relations. This is done through the systematic continued efforts of scholars and specialists using a comparative and multidisciplinary approach and in accordance with the highest academic standards.