Today, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has raised the issue of return of Armenian prisoners from Azerbaijan and protection of their rights in official letters addressed to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
“The letter states, among other things, that the return or release of prisoners should be considered solely in the context of human rights or the humanitarian process. The letter applies to both servicemen and civilians.
The return of prisoners must be ensured immediately after the cessation of hostilities. This is a universal requirement for international action to be automatically applied. Doing the opposite violates international human rights requirements – international humanitarian law, including the 1949 UN Convention on Human Rights. the third convention.
Therefore, paragraph 8 of the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020 has an autonomous meaning and should act exclusively with an autonomous interpretation. In any case, it should not be considered in connection with or dependence on other points of the announcement.
The tripartite statement of November 9 must be applied both before and after all the situations that have arisen. as long as there is an objective need for the protection of human rights and the humanitarian process due to hostilities.
It is a matter of fundamental importance that the return of 64 Armenian servicemen captives is delayed by abusing legal proceedings, artificially giving them the status of suspects or accused, posing as terrorists and using detention as a punishment.
Studies by the ombudsman of Armenia and the results of the investigation of the complaints continuously confirm that the release of the Armenian captives and other detainees in Azerbaijan is artificially delayed, do not report the real number of captives. This also contradicts international human rights requirements, violating the rights of their families in the first place.
Moreover, the evidence gathered by the Human Rights Defender’s Office confirms that their number is higher than the Azerbaijani authorities have confirmed. This refers to the return of 44 prisoners.
All this causes mental suffering to the families of the captives, causes tension in the Armenian society.
The absolute urgency of the issue of the release of prisoners should be considered in the context of anti-Armenianism in Azerbaijan, which is encouraged by the country’s authorities and even cultural figures (an extraordinary report on this issue was sent based on evidence).
Therefore, taking into account the humanitarian mandates of the OSCE Minsk Group and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office և the role of human rights defenders and the fact that our compatriots were taken prisoner in Atsrakh (Nagorno Karabakh), the Co-Chairs called attention to this and all other issues. It is an urgent need to take decisive measures to dismiss, to exclude the politicization of the issue.
I am aware that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia is also constantly raising this issue, including the OSCE Minsk Group and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. Presenting the results of the independent observations and the examination of the complaints registered by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia as an official acting independently of the Government of Armenia, who is endowed with a constitutional mandate for the protection of human rights.”