Europe’s Rights Defender Calls on Baku to Release Armenian POWs

One of the five Armenian prisoners of war is being escorted off a plane that landed at Erebuni Airport on Jan. 28
One of the five Armenian prisoners of war is being escorted off a plane that landed at Erebuni Airport on Jan. 28

One of the five Armenian prisoners of war is being escorted off a plane that landed at Erebuni Airport on Jan. 28

The Secretary General of the European Ombudsman Institute Josef Siegele on Friday called on Azerbaijan to immediately release all Armenian prisoners of war and civilians held in Azerbaijan. The Artsakh Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) welcomed the EIO chief’s appeal.

“Everyone deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict should be returned immediately after the cessation of hostilities and without any preconditions,” Siegele said.

“It should be considered exclusively in the context of human rights and the humanitarian process as an international requirement which is to be automatically applied,” he added.

“Delaying the return of the Armenian prisoners of war and civilians undermined human dignity and seriously violates the fundamental requirements guaranteed by the Geneva Convention. This grossly undermines the post-war humanitarian processes and the international human rights mandates,” he noted.

Josef Siegele stressed that the release of the captives and their safe return require immediate resolution.

The Artsakh Human Rights Defender’s Office called on international structures and human rights organizations to condemn Azerbaijan’s non-fulfillment of its international obligations and the creation of artificial obstacles to the return of Armenian captives.

The Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh is a member of the European Ombudsman Institute since 2009.

On a related matter, the European Union issued a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council session also calling for the immediate release of prisoners of war.

՛՛As regards to Nagorno-Karabakh, the EU stresses that international humanitarian law must be respected and calls for full implementation of the provisions of the November 9, 2020 cease-fire agreement on the exchange of prisoners of war and the repatriation of human remains. Should any foreign fighters still remain in the region, they should be promptly and fully withdrawn. The EU calls for the negotiation of a comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the conflict resulting in lasting peace in the region,՛՛ said the EU statement.

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