ArmInfo.Armenian human rights defender Arman Tatoyan, in an official letter to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, the Council of Europe, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and other international bodies, provided additional information on the urgency of the return of Armenian prisoners from Azerbaijan, the real situation, and the protection of the rights of those who were captured, missing persons and their families.
According to the press service of the Ombudsman's office, the letter primarily refers to the ongoing open armed conflict.
"From the point of view of international [humanitarian] law, this means that regardless of whether they were taken prisoner after the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020 or before, they are prisoners of war, prisoners of war and must be released immediately. This issue is artificially delayed due to the open abuse of legal procedures, presenting them as terrorists and in violation of international rules, using detention as a punishment, " Tatoyan stressed.
Meanwhile, he stated that this is a universal international requirement that must be met automatically. "On the contrary, international human rights requirements and international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention of 1949, are grossly violated. The release and return of prisoners should be considered exclusively in the context of human rights and humanitarian processes.
The monitoring of the Human Rights Defender, as well as the results of the investigation of the complaints received, constantly confirm that the Azerbaijani authorities, grossly violating international requirements, artificially delay the release of Armenian prisoners and deliberately do not disclose their actual number. Through their policies, they violate the rights of prisoners and cause mental suffering to the families of prisoners and missing persons, as well as create tension in the Armenian society.
The evidence collected by the Office of the Human Rights Defender confirms that the number of prisoners held in Azerbaijan is higher than the Azerbaijani authorities have confirmed. This also applies to the 44 prisoners returned in 2020.
The absolute urgency of the issue of the release and return of prisoners should be considered in the context of the policy of hatred towards Armenians and enmity in Azerbaijan, which is constantly promoted at the state level.
Therefore, taking into account the humanitarian mandates of these international bodies and their role in the protection of human rights (the priority of the right to life), they were provided with additional information about the real situation, and therefore there is an urgent need to take decisive measures for the release and return of all prisoners, " the letter of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia reads.