Armenia’s Human Rights Definer Arman Tatoyan has called for immediate release of Armenian citizens held in Azerbaijani captivity.
The statement comes in the wake of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s speech, in which he stated that the Armenian servicemen held in captivity are not prisoners of war and described them as “terrorists.”
“As the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, I specifically declare that the mentioned statement and other similar statements are in gross violation of the post-war humanitarian process and the international human rights protection standards,” Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan said.
he added that the statement by the President of Azerbaijan also directly contradicts the requirement reflected in point 8 of the trilateral statement signed on November 9, 2020 which refers to the exchange of prisoners of war or persons who are in other way deprived of liberty.
“The Armenian servicemen captured by Azerbaijani soldiers should be immediately released and returned to Armenia. This must be done immediately and without any precondition since they have the status of prisoners of war,” Tatoyan said.
“During and after the war, the Azerbaijani authorities have constantly violated international human rights standards and humanitarian commitments by artificially delaying the return of prisoners of war and captives and not reporting the real number of prisoners of war and captives,” the Human Rights Defender said, adding that during this whole process Azerbaijani authorities have continued torture and inhuman treatment, have been publishing videos on torture and inhuman treatment in a targeted way, obstructing exchange of bodies, etc.
The studies and reports of the Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia confirm that the aim of all these is to cause mental suffering to the families of the prisoners of war, to play with emotions of the Armenian society and generate tension in Armenia, he said.
“The monitoring clearly confirms that, in the case of the Azerbaijani authorities, it is necessary to always act with specific guarantees that will ensure full implementation of their humanitarian commitments and inviolability of international human rights standards,” Arman Tatoyan said.
He drew the attention of international community and particularly international bodies with human rights protection mandate to the mentioned statement of the President of Azerbaijan to exclude any violation of the humanitarian process and ensure strict compliance of the process with international human rights standards.