Red Cross on transferring Armenia doctors to Karabakh: We can work with our staff only

September 22, 2023  17:23

Some of Armenia’s medical workers protesting for about two hours outside the Yerevan office of the International Red Cross Organization (ICRC) have met with ICRC representatives.

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Earlier, we reported that these medical workers gathered in front of the ICRC Yerevan office and demand to ensure their departure to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), as well as to evacuate the wounded from there as soon as possible.

These representatives of Armenia’s medical community presented their aforesaid demands to Zara Amatuni, Communication and Prevention Program Manager of the ICRC Armenia office, and talked about the situation in Artsakh.

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Amatuni told reporters that nine injured persons were transferred from Artsakh’s Martakert region to capital Stepanakert by their own efforts today, are already receiving medical care in Stepanakert, and medical supplies have been transferred to that hospital.

"The only chance to deal with these issues is the agreement of the parties, the decision makers. We cannot carry out any action without the consent of at least one decision maker; and that was also emphasized during our meeting," said Amatuni.

When asked whether Azerbaijan is hindering the work of the Red Cross, Amatuni said that she could not point to any party.

"We conduct a confidential dialogue with the parties, and the purpose of the confidential dialogue is to be able to reach any solutions by keeping the humanitarian issues in focus as much as possible. The confidential dialogue does not envisage sharing the content with the public in that case," said Amatuni.

Asked whether they can organize the transfer of medical workers from Armenia to Artsakh, Zara Amatuni emphasized that the  ICRC cannot adopt such a way of working.

"We work with the help of our specialists, naturally we cooperate with the relevant bodies. Any decision is made with the consent of the parties, but our way of working, apart from that, implies that we can work only with our staff and volunteers," she said.

In turn, aforesaid protest’s participant physician Arega Hovsepyan, who was born and raised in Artsakh, noted that they clearly said that the doctors do not have time to wait.

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"Our meeting was not enough, but there were also some conversations, which, due to confidentiality, I will not mention. Also, we said that the ICRC should not wait until the situation [in Artsakh] is critical, as it is already like that," Hovsepyan said.

These medical workers had come to the ICRC Yerevan office with English-language banners on which their aforementioned demands are written.

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