Arman Tatoyan

Portraying POWs as ‘Terrorists’ a Gross Violation of International Law, Ombudsman Says

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YEREVAN (Panorama.am) —  Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan on Monday, March 8, delivered a special report at a discussion hosted by the Armenian National Committee of the United Kingdom, highlighting the urgency of the return of the Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) — servicemen and civilians — being held in Azerbaijan.

The meeting was attended by UK Ambassador to Armenia John Gallagher, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Armenia Tim Loughton and others, the Ombudsman’s Office reported on March 9.

Tatoyan noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying and politicizing the process to cause mental anguish for Armenia, especially for the families of the prisoners, and to create tensions in the country.

The ombudsman presented in detail the international humanitarian and human rights rules which require the immediate release of prisoners and their safe return. Wrongly portraying POWs as “terrorists” is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and the rights of prisoners given the circumstances of ongoing armed conflict, he underlined.

Tatoyan also briefed the participants on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Azerbaijani military during the recent war in Artsakh (beheadings, torture, mutilation of bodies, etc.).

Referring to the border determination process, Tatoyan presented his new concept calling for the creation of a demilitarized zone in Armenia’s Syunik Province to guarantee the security of the people. He presented concrete evidence and facts which his new approach is based on.

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“The process related to the borders has violated and seriously endangered the rights of Armenia’s border residents, disrupted their normal life, continuing to cause concerns to the villagers,” the defender said.

 

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