Women from the Netherlands standing in solidarity, holding a photo of Gayane, an Armenian soldier subjected to brutality and mutilation. Their mission: to raise awareness about gender-specific violence and the human rights violations perpetrated by Azeris.

LOS ANGELES — The Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) issued a statement on April 18, stating that it is on a collaborative mission with the Center for Truth and Justice (CFTJ) at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. CFTJ seeks accountability for the genocide committed by Azerbaijan against Armenians in Armenia, and AIWA is dedicated to ensuring the human rights violations and war crimes perpetrated against ethnic Armenian women by Azerbaijan do not go unnoticed or unpunished.

AIWA’s commitment to advocating against all forms of violence towards women and their pursuit of human rights has been a cornerstone of the organization’s mission. On January 17, the AIWA Los Angeles affiliate organized a liturgical observance and ecumenical prayer service, drawing attention to Armenians held captive in Azerbaijan and advocating for their immediate release.

Now, AIWA is taking its advocacy to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Speaking at Los Angeles International Airport before departure, Silva Katchiguian, president of AIWA, emphasized the significance of directing the world’s attention to critical issues, particularly concerning the dignity and rights of women brought to light by the CFTJ’s groundbreaking documentation of the crimes.

Katchiguian stated, “It is time for us to declare it in The Hague and for the world to acknowledge that discussing human rights separately from women’s rights is no longer acceptable. The documentation by CFTJ proves extreme gender-specific brutality toward ethnic Armenian women by Azeri soldiers. These heinous acts of violence continue because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. But the women’s voices representing the injustices toward Armenia women must be heard loudly and clearly.”

She added, “Women’s rights are human and universal in times of war and peace. I urge the ambassadors to ensure accountability for conflict-related sexual violence.”

The CFTJ, established in November 2020 in response to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, has been collecting first-hand testimonies from the war survivors.

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As Katchiguian stated, “Every new wave of warfare brings with it a rising tide of human tragedy, including new waves of war’s oldest, most silenced, and least-condemned crimes, crimes against women.”

Furthermore, she emphasized, “Those of us who have the opportunity to be in The Hague have the responsibility to speak for those who could not. As an American and an Armenian, I want to speak for women in my ethnic homeland, Armenia.”


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