“Tavush for the Homeland” movement calls for an end to the unilateral surrender of Armenian territories to Azerbaijan

“Tavush for the Homeland” movement marching to Yerevan, May 7, 2024 (Photo: David Ghahramanyan)

YEREVAN—The Tavush for the Homeland movement was started by the villagers of Tavush, who are facing the existential threat of losing their homes due to the illegal surrender of Armenian lands to Azerbaijan announced by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

It is part of the border demarcation and delimitation process currently taking place between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which contradicts international norms and principles, including the basic principle that any international agreement reached through the threat or use of force is null and void. 

The process is illegal, as the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia mandates that any territorial changes to the Republic of Armenia must be exclusively decided by referendum. There is no legal basis for the activity and powers of the demarcation commission created by the prime minister. 

A corresponding lawsuit has been submitted to the Armenia Prosecutor’s Office demanding that Pashinyan be held criminally responsible for illegally surrendering land as part of this process.

In fact, there is no agreed-upon delimitation and demarcation process—it is simply the unilateral concession of land under coercion by Azerbaijan. Given that Azerbaijani government propaganda refers to sovereign Armenian territory as “Western Azerbaijan,” it is clear the surrender of territories will allow Azerbaijan to better prepare its next attack and create serious security threats to the life and property of thousands of Armenians, as well as to undermine their free movement and endanger their cultural heritage.

As a result of this process, significant problems may arise in terms of communications, roads and various infrastructures (republican, regional and community roads, the gas pipeline entering Armenia, telecommunication and electricity channels, etc.), as stated by human rights NGOs such as Transparency International.

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan offers a blessing during the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement (Photo: David Ghahramanyan)

For several years, the Azerbaijani armed forces have directly promoted war crimes such as the killing of civilians, including beheadings and executions, torture and other horrific crimes. Azerbaijan has cultivated anti-Armenian sentiment, repeatedly promoting racist rhetoric and systematically erasing any Armenian presence through the destruction of cultural heritage and elimination of traces of Armenian identity. 

The “Tavush for the Homeland” movement, led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the Primate of the Diocese of Tavush, aims to pressure Republic of Armenia authorities to stop this illegal process, which threatens the country’s territorial integrity, security and peace. 

“We are marching to Yerevan to end the unconstitutional and unilateral surrender of our land. Armenia’s borders must only be set by the Armenian state—not foreign dictates or violent demands,” said Archbishop Galstanyan. 

“No corner of Armenia is safe from the looming threat. Let us all join together in defense of our homeland, drawing inspiration from the historic times in Armenian history,” said “Hayastan” bloc MP from Tavush, Garnik Danielyan, who is participating in the march to Yerevan. 

The movement also aims to alert the international community to pressure Azerbaijan (and its ally Turkey) to refrain from any use of force during these peaceful protests or if Armenia stops the current unilateral concessionary process of “delimitation and demarcation.”

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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