February 6, 2021 – 14:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Health Minister Anahit Avanesyan has said Armenia expects pressure from international agencies to ensure the repatriation of all Armenian prisoners of war from Azerbaijan.
Avanesyan was meeting the acting head of the Council of Europe’s Yerevan office Maxime Longangue, as well as project officer at the Human Rights Protection in Biomedicine program Mary Katvalyan on Friday, February 5.
“The Armenian side has organized the proper medical care of the Azerbaijani captives both during and after the war, and [arranged] their return afterwards,” The Health Minister said.
“Today, however, Armenian citizens are still in captivity, and in that context we expect the pressure of the international bodies in organizing their return as soon as possible.”
Several dozen Armenian POWs returned from Azerbaijan in mid-December, although Armenian officials said many more people were being held in Baku. Dozens of others, both servicemen and civilians, have been captured after the completion of military hostilities. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said in one of his speeches that the newly detained persons are not prisoners of war but “terrorists”. Human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan has said, meanwhile, that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. Sahakyan represents the rights of some of the Karabakh POWs before the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts.
Longangue and Katvalyan, meanwhile, presented the prospects for the implementation of the Human Rights Protection in Biomedicine program in Armenia, and expressed readiness to respond to the needs of the Ministry. The sides also considered the opportunity given to Armenia to be the first country where such a program is implemented.