Azerbaijani servicemen deliberately set fires in the vicinity of the villages of Sotk and Kut in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province, Human Rights Defender ARman Tatoyan says.
While the fires near the Sotk village were extinguished on Saturday, fires fire near Kut was spread due to weather conditions.
“In these places there are grasslands and meadows of the residents of the communities, and they simply get destroyed by fires. Taking into account the fact that the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded and are located in the immediate vicinity of the villages in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, the fires pose a real threat to the civilian population of the villages as well,” Arman Tatoyan said in a Facebook post.
According to him, inspections show that these subversive criminal acts against the civilian population of Armenia are being committed intentionally.
“First of all, the Azerbaijani servicemen are well aware that they are located in pastures and grasslands belonging to civilians, as well as arable lands, that people cannot even use the areas adjacent to the Azerbaijani positions, because they shoot even when people simply approach those places,” Tatoyan noted.
“In addition, the Azerbaijani servicemen realize that due to the current weather conditions the fire will spread rapidly and will destroy areas belonging to people, depriving them of a source of livelihood. And then they realize that the residents will also see these fires, they are obviously doing it to intimidate the civilian population,” the Ombudsman continued.
He emphasized that there is no alternative to the withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia.
“Recent Azerbaijani actions, including shootings, in Syunik, Gegharkunik, and Ararat, show that they are becoming more and more dangerous to civilians, are intentional, targeted, and that human rights abuses are widespread,” Arman Tatoyan noted.
This regular report of the RA Human Rights Defender will be officially sent to international organizations, Armenian government bodies and civil society organizations.