Armenia expects international support in ensuring the release and return of POWs: President addresses letters to CoE, OSCE

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has sent letters to Council of Europe Secretary General Maria Paichinovich-Burich and Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Helga Maria Schmid, drawing the attention of the international partners to the urgency if release of the Armenian prisoners of war.

The President emphasized that 2020 was a difficult year for Armenia not only because of the coronavirus, but also the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh on September 27, with the active support and direct participation of Turkey.

“Despite repeated calls from the international community for an immediate end to the war, Azerbaijan’s military-political leadership kept deliberately targeting civilians and infrastructure en masse, in gross violation of human rights and international humanitarian law,” President Sarkissian said.

He added that “all this led to the loss of thousands of young lives and disability of thousands, the displacement of the population and the destruction of the Armenian historical and cultural heritage.”

“During and after the war, Armenian servicemen and civilians were taken prisoner, tortured and inhumanely treated by Azerbaijan,” Armen Sarkissian added.

Stressing that addressing the humanitarian situation in Artsakh is a priority and urgent attention is required from the international community, the Armenian President emphasized the need to carry out the exchange of prisoners according to the “all for all” principle, which is ignored by Azerbaijan.

At present, he said, Azerbaijan continues to refuse, obstruct the return of civilians, and prisoners of war in gross violation of human rights and international humanitarian law.

In this context, President Sarkissian pointed out the work carried out by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, the fact-finding activity, which constantly raises the concerns and existing problems of the Armenian side in international instances.

Noting that Armenia expects support from international partners in the immediate return of all prisoners of war, the President appealed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Council of Europe, the Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, urging to take all necessary measures in line with international law to ensure the immediate release and safe return of all prisoners of war and civilians.

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