Human Rights Defender briefs Vatican on Azerbaijani violations
His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians on Wednesday met with Pope Francis in the Vatican and discussed the “catastrophic consequences” of the 44-day war, the current challenges facing Armenia and Artsakh.
Karekin II emphasized the plight of Armenian prisoners of war and captives being held by Azerbaijan and asked the Pope for guidance on the matter.
The Catholicos specifically discussed issues related to the security of the people of Artsakh, Azerbaijan’s continued encroachment on Armenia’s sovereign territory, as well as the preservation of Armenian religious, cultural and historic heritage in the territories under the control of Azerbaijan.
Following his visit with Pope Francis, Karekin II and his delegation, which included Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, met with Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
During that meeting, Tatoyan presented his evidence-based reports on the torture and inhumane treatment of Armenian prisoners of war committed by Azerbaijani authorities.
Tatoyan emphasized the urgent need to return Armenian captives held in Azerbaijan, stressing that international norms have been grossly violated and the prisoners are held by Azerbaijan as military-political bargaining chips.
He also addressed the unlawful deployment of Azerbaijani forces on roads linking Armenian towns, which has endangered the lives and well-being of the people, while Azerbaijan’s incursion into Armenia’s sovereign territory in Gegharkunik and Syunik are threatening the lives of civilians because cross-border shootings and other criminal actions.