Azeris Violate Rights of Border Residents As They Erect “Welcome to Azerbaijan” Sign & Continue Firing Upon Villages.

Today, Arman Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia said Azerbaijani authorities continue to violate the internationally recognized rights of the border residents of Armenia in a Facebook post.

His post reads as follows,

“The Azerbaijani authorities continue to violate the internationally recognized rights of the border residents of Armenia (based on specific findings).

In particular, on the inter-community road leading from the Armenian city of Kapan to Chakaten and a number of other villages which connecting peaceful residential communities, the Azerbaijani military, on January 22, 2021 erected a sign with the words “Welcome to Azerbaijan” which was displayed in Azerbaijani and English, and leading up to it, with Azerbaijani flags.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia has been receiving alarmed and anxious calls from the residents of Kapan, as well as the villages of Chakaten, Shikahogh, Srashen, Tsav, Nerkin Hand, Shishkert, and especially more so in recent days. These reactions are equally due to the placement of  flags on those sections of the road. The head of the community of Kapan has already provided the relevant information to the Defender.

The residents of these neighborhoods have issued alarms that these steps by the Azerbaijani authorities are deliberate and are aimed at grossly violating their physical security and emotional well-being, property and other vital rights, as well as violative of the health and welfare of the resident children.

By carrying out these demonstrative targeting of civilians, coupled with the practically daily shootings are undeniably exacerbating tensions in those Armenian villages.

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, as well as a number of discussions were had with the residents. Consequently, the referenced alarms raised by those who reside in Kapan and by the community bodies there were all confirmed.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia considers 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 Armenians 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 by not only public figures but even by human rights defenders in that country;

4) For more than a month now, the Azerbaijani military has been firing with small and large caliber weapons, at times while under the influence of alcohol or visibly drunk. This, as observed by the villagers in the immediate proximity of the mentioned villages of the Kapan in Armenia;

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

6) As for the process of determining the borders of Armenia with Azerbaijan, within the framework of which such signs and flags were placed, it appears that the Azerbaijani soldiers are proceeding with gross violations and are endangering human life and rights, all of which contradicts the foundations of the international human rights system and the rule of law. Therefore, the outcome is not supported by law;

7) The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have committed and continue to commit torture, inhumane treatment and other war crimes against the military and civilians of the Armenian side. This was especially so during the September-November 2020 war, but has continued hence.

Therefore, it is clear that the referenced measures of the Azerbaijani military were taken in a manner which violates the rights of the residents of Armenia’s border communities, by openly intimidating them (including children and women). This situation can not contribute to peace in the region in any way, but rather, it causes increased tensions, and violates the internationally recognized rights and interests of civilians as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.

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

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