GLENDALE—The All-Armenian Student Association and ARF Shant Student Association stand in solidarity with the ARF Nigol Aghbalian Student Association and the Armenian Youth Federation in Armenia in their opposition protest following the tripartite peace agreement the Armenian government entered into with the governments of Russia and Azerbaijan.
The current government, which came to power in a wave of protests in 2018, has made bold promises to protect the rights of the people. We urge the government to respect the civil liberties of those making demands publicly. At this critical juncture, censorship and arrest of opposition political leaders shall not be tolerated. Dissent is a critical aspect of democracy and we call on the government to uphold the democratic values they represent.
The agreement signed on November 9th purported to end the war waged by Azerbaijan and Turkey, but it required the surrender of Aghdam, Lachin, Kelbajar, and Shushi to Azerbaijan. The agreement was signed without securing the transfer of prisoners of war, who have endured indescribable horrors in captivity. The lack of proper delineation of borders have resulted in Armenian residents having to negotiate border disputes with the enemy. The loss of the majority of Artsakh, destruction of Armenian monuments and artifacts, and indiscriminate human rights violations against civilians represent only some of the consequences of the unfavorable agreement. The direct contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan along its entire eastern border presents dire threats to Armenia’s national security. Furthermore, the agreement also includes the building of infrastructure to link the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with the regions of Azerbaijan, setting the foundation for a direct connection of Azerbaijan and Turkey through Armenia.
The consequences of the agreement are inevitable and far-reaching. In a national address on December 10th, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev boldly claimed “Zangezur, Lake Sevan, and Yerevan are historically Azerbaijani land.” Azerbaijan and Turkey, emboldened by this agreement, will continue to wage unprovoked military invasions, seeking to displace Armenians from their rightful lands.
In opposition to the agreement, the citizens of Armenia have been staging protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in the weeks following the signing of the agreement. The demands of the protestors are to secure the voluntary resignation of the Prime Minister, appoint a transitional government, and organize snap parliamentary elections. The protestors stress that Armenia is currently facing very real threats to its national security and proactive steps are necessary to establish an effective crisis response.
The ARF Nigol Aghbalian Student Association and the Armenian Youth Federation in Armenia, have been actively organizing and participating in these protests. Hundreds of these students have been arrested for exercising their right to speak out against the government. Many of these students served on the frontlines during the war and are now being subjected to arrest and suppression of their views. We denounce these arrests and urge the government to allow the peaceful assembly of citizens. We are disheartened to witness the aggressive stance taken against protestors calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister.
The All-Armenian Student Association works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASA’s in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, leadership development of its members, and community service.