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Customs difficulties in Armenia regarding post-war humanitarian aid

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Հայերեն տարբերակ

From the very beginning of the war, like many other Armenian associations and just like Armenian civil society, Charjoum has shown responsiveness and solidarity to the Artsakh and Armenian people. You have witnessed this and participated in the various actions we’ve carried out, aimed at helping the victims of the war. Today, we are forced to condemn the actions and schemes that are slowing us down.

Since December 18th, one of our humanitarian aid shipments, comprising of more than 9 tons of aid, has been blocked in a Yerevan warehouse, awaiting customs clearance. Even though we were forced to accept that the customs clearance of Turkish goods (before 31 December 2020) was given priority over our humanitarian shipment; despite the fact that we accepted the closure of customs services at the end of the year due to the holidays; though we’ve accepted the length and complexity of the actions, carried out by the Armenian administration, we are not going to accept action and schemes aimed at deliberately delaying the delivery of humanitarian aid. For two months, even though all the administrative authorizations were obtained, individuals within the Armenian customs service have been imposing succesive unjustified conditions day after day, never formulated beforehand, before we could collect the aid boxes. While we were aware of the lack of willingness from the Armenian administration to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, we are now dismayed by the fact that individuals within customs service took advantage of and profited from the situation by extending the process as much as possible. For what purpose? Is this a case of culpable negligence, or would it have been quicker and simpler if we had made a “cash donation” to the officers in charge of our case? Such actions are more horrendous in view of the urgency of the situation.

Needless to say, the country is going through one of the greatest social and humanitarian crises in its history, and the aid is awaited by several hundred people for whom it is vital. Another appalling observation is that such actions are systematic: our boxes are stored not far from several dozen wheelchairs and medical beds, equipment that is more than needed at the moment. We denounce the failed system in which ill-intentioned individuals are able to take advantage of its failures to assert their own interests, to the detriment of the collective interest.