Armenian Ombudsman appeals to CoE Committee of Ministers regarding the return of Armenian POWs

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has appealed to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the immediate return of all prisoners of war illegally detained in Azerbaijan.

The special report is related to the fact that on March 9, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sent a public notice to the Committee of Ministers, stating that the Azerbaijani government does not meet the deadlines set by the court on prisoners, provides the court with general and limited information.

The report of the RA Human Rights Defender shows that the behavior of the Azerbaijani authorities grossly violates international requirements by presenting the captives as “terrorists” or “saboteurs.”

“All servicemen of the Armenian side and civilians were taken prisoner by the Azerbaijani armed forces in the current, ongoing armed conflict, therefore, they are all prisoners of war, they must be released immediately, returned to their homeland without any political or other preconditions,” the Ombudsman says.

The Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying and politicizing the process, grossly violating the rights of the prisoners and their families, causing them suffering and causing tension in the society, he says.

“It is absolutely reprehensible that the Azerbaijani authorities do not publish the real number of captives of the Armenian side illegally detained in their country. They are causing double suffering to the families of the missing, as the situation becomes more uncertain for them, and this is against the background of the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities are constantly obstructing the search and discovery of the bodies,” the Human Rights Defender says.

The absolute urgency of these issues should be considered in the context of the policy of hatred and enmity towards Armenia at the state level, he adds.

The application to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe provides a detailed analysis of international human rights requirements, sets out concrete examples of human rights violations, and raises the issue of support for the immediate return of prisoners.

Along with all this, the RA Human Rights Defender specifically states that the RA state bodies and officials are obliged to provide proper communication with the families of the captives, the missing, to provide them with exhaustive information, to act systematically, as well as to pay attention to their own words for any tension.

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