Azerbaijani authorities continue to violate the rights of residents of Armenia’s border villages

The Azerbaijani authorities continue to violate the internationally recognized rights of the border residents of , Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan says.

In particular, the Ombudsman says, on January 22, 2021, the Azerbaijani military installed a sign reading “Welcome to Azerbaijan” in Azerbaijani and English and an Azerbaijani flags on the inter-community road from the Armenian city of Kapan to Chakaten and a number of other villages, that is, connecting peaceful settlements.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia has been receiving angry and anxious calls from the residents of Kapan, as well as the villages of Chakaten, Shikahogh, Srashen, Tsav, Nerkin Hand, Shishkert, especially in recent days. The same goes for placing flags on those sections of the road.

“The residents of these settlements have issued alarms that these steps of the Azerbaijani authorities are deliberate and are aimed at violating their physical security and mental rights, other property and vital rights, and violate the interests of children. They are demonstratively targeting civilians, and along with almost daily shootings, this is exacerbating tensions in the mentioned Armenian villages, Tatoyan says.

Immediately after these alarms, a detailed study was initiated in the Syunik regional and central subdivisions of the Human Rights Defender’s Office. Field observations were made, a number of discussions with residents were held.

As a result, the mentioned alarms of the residents of Kapan community and community bodies were confirmed.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia deems it necessary to consider these steps of the Azerbaijani authorities at least from the point of view of the following factors:

1) The state policy of organized hatred and enmity of continues in Azerbaijan;

2) The highest authorities of Azerbaijan openly speak about the Armenian people in a language of ethnic cleansing and genocide, insulting the dignity of the entire Armenian people;

3) There are open calls for a new war against Armenia in Azerbaijan, including by people with public recognition and even human rights defenders in the country;

4) This is accompanied by the immediate proximity of the mentioned villages of the Kapan community of Armenia. For more than a month now, the Azerbaijani military has been firing from small and large weapons, including being drunk, as the villagers observed;

5) On the way from Kapan to Chakaten village, there are Azerbaijani soldiers, armed people;

6) The process of determining the borders of Armenia with Azerbaijan, in the framework of which such signs and flags were placed and Azerbaijani soldiers appeared on the road, is a serious human rights violation and a danger to the border residents of Armenia, contradicts the foundations of the international human rights system and the rule of law, therefore has no legal force.

7) The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have committed and continue to commit torture, inhuman treatment and other war crimes against the military and civilians of the Armenian side, especially during the September-November 2020 war.

Therefore, the Ombudsman says, it is obvious that the mentioned steps of the Azerbaijani military were taken in a way that violates the rights of the residents of the Armenian border settlements, openly intimidating them (first of all, children and women).

According to Arman Tatoyan, this situation cannot contribute to peace in the region in any way, it only causes tension, violates the internationally recognized rights and interests of civilians guaranteed by the Armenian Constitution.

Reports on these facts will be sent to international organizations, including the OSCE, the UN, the Council of Europe (with the necessary evidence). Separate reports will also be sent to special mechanisms of intergovernmental organizations.

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