YEREVAN, February 16. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan said he has sent a detailed report to the UN Human Rights Council stating that the Azerbaijani authorities are delaying the return of the captives and are grossly violating international mandates and requirements.
The report was sent to the UN Human Rights Council under a separate procedure. Only national human rights institutions with international “A” status have this opportunity.
The report specifically refers to the Azerbaijani authorities’ abuse of legal procedures and politicizing of the issue of the repatriation of prisoners.
‘By doing so, they are causing mental suffering to our society and, and foremost, to the families of the captives, and by toying with their emotions they are causing targeted raising of tensions,’ he said in a Facebook post.
The report has now been submitted, taking into account the dates and timing of the scheduled sessions of the UN Human Rights Council.
So far, 64 Armenians, both civilians and soldiers, and 16 Azerbaijanis have been repatriated from both countries as part of exchanges between the two sides.
Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier agreed to “all for all” swap of POWs. However, more than two months after the fighting stopped, Azerbaijan still holds unknown dozens of Armenian prisoners of war.
The Armenian authorities decline demands to disclose the exact number of Armenian prisoners held in Azerbaijan on the grounds that it is a state secret.
However, according to various sources, there are more than 140 names on the Armenian exchange list. The European Court of Human Rights said it has received requests concerning 228 Armenians held in Azerbaijani captivity.
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.