ArmInfo.Human Rights Defender (HRD) of the RA Arman Tatoyan held a meeting with the Rapporteur Group on Democracy of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), headed by Permanent Representative of Sweden to the CoE, Ambassador Marten Ehnberg. The meeting was attended by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the Council of Europe Paruyr Hovhannisyan.
According to the Ombudsman's office, Arman Tatoyan, together with human rights activist Siranush Sahakyan, presented evidence of war crimes and torture.
The Human Rights Defender presented the facts of war crimes committed by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan during the war in Artsakh in November-December 2020. He noted that the Azerbaijani armed attacks were accompanied by inhuman and cruel treatment, beheading and torture of both prisoners of war and civilian captives.
Arman Tatoyan presented evidence that Armenophobia in Azerbaijan is in a closed cycle and is generated by the Azerbaijani authorities, including at the highest level, and then with almost the same wording, is widely used and encouraged by cultural, sports and other public figures, receiving public praise, often targeting children.
HRD of Armenia also provided information on the facts of violation by the Azerbaijani authorities of the rights of border residents of the Republic of Armenia. He noted that the issues related to the state border of the Republic of Armenia should be considered in the context of human rights, so that they would not be relegated to the background, limiting the state's ability to protect these rights.
The Armenian Ombudsman clarified that as a result of the illegal actions of Azerbaijan, people were deprived of houses, lands and pastures that belonged to them in Soviet times, as a result of which not only social, but also serious security problems arose.
The illegal presence of Azerbaijani armed forces on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, such as Lake Sev, has caused serious security problems for nearby settlements as they become targets and the Azerbaijani military open fire. In addition, most people cannot engage in animal husbandry, which is a source of income for their families, and in Gegharkunik and Syunik regions, citizens cannot keep cattle and small ruminants on farms near pastures, graze them or send them to water. The availability of water resources is under threat not only in Syunik, but also in Gegharkunik regions. Moreover, a number of villages are deprived of water.
Arman Tatoyan stressed that only demarcation of the border with Azerbaijan, without withdrawing the Azerbaijani military and creating a security zone, removing their signs and cameras on the roads of the Republic of Armenia, will not ensure the rights of the citizens of Armenia and especially the residents of the borderlands, and will cause new violations of rights and new tensions.
During the meeting, Arman Tatoyan and Siranush Sahakyan spoke in detail about the urgency of returning the Armenian prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan, noting that Azerbaijan, presenting them as "terrorists" or "saboteurs," grossly violate international requirements.
Siranush Sahakyan noted that all servicemen of the Armenian side and civilians in the status of prisoners should be immediately released, returned to their homeland without any political or other preconditions, and the Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying this process, politicizing the rights of prisoners and their families, causing them suffering and causing tension in society.
Arman Tatoyan and Siranush Sahakyan noted that violations will continue until the Azerbaijani side is held accountable for war crimes.