Rights of Citizens Must Guide Any Border Determination, Says Human Rights Defender

Armenia's Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan
Armenia's Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan

Citing historical errors, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan on Monday said the rights of Armenia’s citizens should be the basis for any decisions involving the determination of borders.

“When in 1923, in order to artificially separate Armenia from Artsakh, ‘Red Kurdistan’ was formed, the border disputes with Zangezur of the Armenian SSR intensified. One of the main concerns consistently raised by the people of Zangezur at the time was the issue of the rights of the villagers to the lands, along with the winter and summer time pastures and gardens,” Tatoyan said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
“For example, in October of 1925, a member of the State Committee of the Armenian SSR, A. Yerznkyan, by way of a reference, stated that the areas West of the border with Meghri and Karyagino (Jabrail) were mainly winter pastures, which were actually used by the residents of the villages of Kapan and Meghri without grasslands. One of the main reasons was that without these pastures, the livestock of the villages in the referenced regions would be paralyzed,” explained Tatoyan.

“In another case, the head of the local commission for demarcation of the borders of Zangezur ‘between the provinces of Kurdistan,’ Ya. Kochetkov, by way of an example, based his disagreement with the Azeri proposals on the village of Teghut on the fact that it is one of the districts of Shvanidzor, where the lands (gardens and pastures) are so intertwined that it will be impossible to separate them,” added Tatoyan. “The same disputes over the rights of the villagers took place between the villages of Kapan and Zangelan, Khoznavar and Azerbaijan.”

“In 1924, 1926, 1929, and 1935 sessions of the local commission of the USSR tasked with resolving the border disputes and relevant issues, it is clear from the materials memorializing the efforts of these years, that discussions pertaining to the rights of the villagers of the USSR have repeatedly been woefully inadequate. For example, Zangezur’s scarcity of “village-to-village” connections (administrative, economic, etc.) was ignored, and without an accounting of the difficulties that might arise for the rights of villagers,” said Tatoyan.

“All of these shortcomings once again confirm that the rights of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia should be the basis of decisions when engaged in the process of determining the borders; it is necessary to take into account all the mistakes made in the past; to learn the necessary lessons from them; and to not permit violations or disregard of rights,” the human rights defender urged.

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