August 30, 2021 – 14:40 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Azerbaijan continues to impede the return of Armenian prisoners of war long after the completion of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said on the International day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on Monday, August 30.
Mirzoyan said in a message that victims of enforced disappearance are in fact deprived of all their rights: the right to liberty and security of person, the right to identity and the right to a fair trial. Unfortunately, in many cases they are also deprived of the right to life.
“On this symbolic day, I would like to once again raise the issue and draw the attention of all our partners to the imperative of restoring the rights of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians illegally detained in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani authorities deny the capture of dozens of Armenian servicemen and civilians, on which there is clear evidence, thus these people are victims of enforced disappearance,” Mirzoyan said.
“Official Baku also explicitly disregards the relevant decisions of the ECHR on providing information on Armenian servicemen and civilian hostages in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan continues to impede the return of prisoners in flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law, the Geneva Conventions and the provision 8 of the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020.”
The Armenian foreign policy chief also weighed in on Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian policy of hatred and said the Armenian captives in Azerbaijan are being subjected to torture, inhuman and humiliating treatment. Cases of deprivation of their right to life have already been registered, alongside illegal, fake trials of Armenian prisoners of war, he added.
“Another indication of war crimes and crimes against humanity is the concealment of the true number of the Armenian POWs and captured civilians and places of their detention by Azerbaijan, Mirzoyan said.
“Given the meaning of the day, we call on our international partners, as well as human rights organizations, to intensify international pressure on the Azerbaijani authorities, demanding respect for international humanitarian law, as well as the immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians held in inhumane conditions in Azerbaijan.”
Azerbaijan is refusing to return all Armenian prisoners of war, in violation of the statement on the cessation of hostilities signed by the parties in November 2020. The Armenian side has information about some 200 Armenians still in Azerbaijan’s captivity, but Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claims that persons being kept in Baku are not PoWs, but “terrorists and saboteurs”. At least 19 of the hundreds of Armenian captives have been tortured and killed, according to their lawyers.