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Human Rights Defender confirms new deployment of Azerbaijani forces near Nerkin Hand

The fact-finding mission carried out by the Human Rights Defender’s Office has revealed new deployment of Azerbaijani Armed Forces on the hill near the area known as Shinategh, a memorial to the victims of the Patriotic War and the Nerkin Hand cemetery. The Azerbaijani forces have installed several tents earlier this month.

The residents told the working group they had not noticed the Azerbaijani servicemen or any position in the mentioned area before, noting that they had collected wood from that place two months ago. According to the residents, the pastor of the village was the first to notice the Azerbaijani servicemen.

“The main occupation of the residents of Nerkin Hand is cattle breeding and agriculture. As a result of the new positioning by the Azerbaijani armed forces, the cemetery of the settlement, the memorial to the victims of the Patriotic War, the church, as well as most of the pastures of the village – about 50 hectares, as well as the arable lands and gardens of some villagers – are now directly targeted and monitored. This situation has created serious difficulties for the residents engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture,” Human Rights Defender Kristine Grigoryan says.

Although there is no panic in the village, the villagers are uncertain about the situation.

The working group also recorded that on March 16, 2022, the governor of Syunik, representatives of the command staff of the Ministry of Defense, met with the residents in Nerkin Hand settlement. Besides, the head of Kapan community and his deputies have been holding regular meetings with the residents these days.

During the visit, the working group also met with the head of Kapan community, Syunik regional administration and other competent officials.

The results and findings of the visit of the Human Rights Defender’s representatives, as well as the proposals for the solution of the mentioned other problems, were sent to the Government.

The Human Rights Defender says she will continue to pursue the issues of solving the problems of the border settlements, including the residents of Nerkin Hand.

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