Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan on Monday delivered a special report at a discussion organized by the Armenian National Committee of the United Kingdom, emphasizing the urgency for the return of the Armenian captives, servicemen and civilians detained in Azerbaijan.
The meeting was attended by Britain’s Ambassador to Armenia John Gallagher and the Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Friendship Group with Armenia at UK Parliament Tim Lawton.
Tatoyan noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying and politicizing the process in order to cause mental anguish in Armenia and especially to the families of the captives and to create tension in the country.
Tatoyan detailed international humanitarian and human rights laws that mandate the immediate release of prisoners and the guarantee of their safe return.
He also provided information on war crimes and crimes against humanity (beheadings, torture, desecration of remains) committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the Artsakh War last fall.
Touching upon the process related to the borders of Armenia, Tatoyan elaborated on his proposal to establish a demilitarized security zone in Armenia’s Syunik Province to guarantee the safety and security of the residents. He cited concrete evidence and facts, based on which he is proposing this new approach.
“The process connected with borders has seriously endanger the rights of Armenia’s border residents, disrupting their normal life, and continues to cause concern to the villagers,” Tatoyan said.
On a related matter, the UK Government expressed its deep concern about allegations that cluster munitions and artillery rockets were used during the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that prisoners of war have been subjected to cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said in response to a written question submitted by Baroness Caroline Cox.
“During her recent visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan the Minister for the European Neighborhood and the Americas urged both parties to ensure thorough investigations into all allegations,” he said.
Baroness Cox had asked the British government what representations they had made to the government of Azerbaijan about reports that Azerbaijani forces have treated captured Armenian troops inhumanely, and used cluster munitions and artillery rockets, in the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.