Ruling parliamentary majority turns down opposition’s motion on providing assistance to persons gone missing after November 9

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YEREVAN, January 18. /ARKA/. The ruling My Step alliance in Armenia’s National Assembly voted today against considering a motion tabled by the opposition Bright Armenia party, suggesting that government assistance be provided also to the families of those conscripted and contract servicemen who went missing after November 9, when the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed a statement on ending hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

A Bright Armenia MP Gevorg Gorgisyan said the current legislation stipulates that assistance is provided to the families of the missing soldiers only if they did not surrender voluntarily, which violates the presumption of innocence and requires an official investigation.

Besides, according to him, it takes at least 3 months for a court to declare a serviceman missing and his family will only be able to count on 3-4 month financial assistance in the amount of serviceman’s salary.

He said also that according to the law “On compensation for damage to life or health of a serviceman,” – benefits and compensations are provided until the opposite is proven.

“There are other decisions of the government on compensation, but they are valid only for the period of this war (the latest war in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone ran from September 27 to November 9). Those who went missing after November 9 cannot count on state assistance, and no compensation is provided at all for the missing civilians,” Gorgisyan said.

He noted that the current regulation is not complete, and their party offers a full package, according to which the families of all citizens who were captured or went missing should receive state aid in the amount of 200 thousand drams.

Aren Mkrtchyan, a member of the parliamentary committee on defense and security issues countered that the Bright Armenia’s motion is important from the point of view of social security guarantees, but the government has already passed a set of decisions on providing assistance to the military.

In particular, assistance is provided to those who went missing from September 27 to November 9, there are other benefit mechanisms and many procedures have been facilitated so that the relatives of the missing persons receive assistance as quickly as possible.

On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani armed forces, backed by Turkey and foreign mercenaries and terrorists, attacked Nagorno-Karabakh along the entire front line using rocket and artillery weapons, heavy armored vehicles, military aircraft and prohibited types of weapons such as cluster bombs and phosphorus weapons.

After 44 days of the war, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities. According to the document, the parties stopped at where they were at that time. The town of Shushi, the districts of Agdam, Kelbajar and Lachin were handed over to Azerbaijan, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia.

A Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed along the contact line in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to Karabakh and adjacent regions, prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead are being exchanged.

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