Human Rights Defender Appeals to Minsk Group Co-Chairs on POW Return

Artsakh soldiers
Artsakh soldiers

Artsakh soldiers

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan sent an official letter Monday to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office regarding the of the return of Armenian prisoners of war from Azerbaijan and the protection of their rights.

“Among other issues, the letter also states that the return or release of POWs should be viewed exclusively within the framework of human rights or humanitarian process. The letter addresses both the captured servicemen and civilians,” Tatoyan said in a Facebook post announcing the letter.

“The return of POWs should be ensured immediately after the end of the military operations. This is a universal demand of international action subject to automatic implementation. Doing the opposite violates the international demands of human rights and the international humanitarian law, including the third Geneva Convention of 1949,” added Tatoyan.

“Therefore, point the 8th of the November 9 trilateral statement has an autonomous meaning and should act exclusively with an autonomous interpretation. It in no way can be viewed in connection or dependence with the remaining points of the statement,” explained Tatoyan.

The Human Rights Defender said that the November 9 trilateral statement should be applied to all situations preceding and following it, as long as there is an objective need for the protection of human rights and humanitarian processes conditioned by the war.

“The fact that the return of 64 captured Armenian servicemen is delayed with the abuse of legal process is a very vital issue,” said Tatoyan.

“The assessment of the human rights defender and the results of the investigation of complaints constantly affirm that Azerbaijan is artificially delaying the release of the Armenian POWs, is not announcing the real number of POWs. This also contradicts the international demands of human rights and violates firstly the rights of their family members,” added Tatoyan.

“Moreover, the evidence collected by the human rights defender’s staff proves that their number is much more than what has been confirmed by the Azerbaijani authorities. This relates also to the prior return of the 44 POWs,” Tatoyan said.

“Taking into consideration the humanitarian mandates of the OSCE Minsk Group and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and their role in the protection of human rights and the fact that our compatriots have been captured in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), the letter has drawn the attention of the Co-Chairs to the aforementioned and all other issues, raising an urgent necessity for taking decisive measures to release the POWs and rule out the politicization of the issue,” Tatoyan emphasized.

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