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#2561 Yervant1

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Posted 10 February 2021 - 08:59 AM

MEMRI
Feb 9 2021
 
 
Pakistan's Military Involvement In The Nagorno-Karabakh War February 9, 2021 By Tufail Ahmad
 
 

On October 2, 2020, the government of Pakistan sought to deny media reports that Pakistani soldiers were aiding the Azeri military against Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh war (September 27-November 10, 2020). The Pakistani newspapers of the next morning, October 3, quoted Zahid Hafeez Chaudri, the spokesman of the Foreign Office in Islamabad, as saying that such media reports were "speculative and baseless" and "irresponsible."[1]

After this official denial of involvement, Pakistani journalists came under increased pressure not to write about the Pakistani military's role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war. In this paper, I will examine the Pakistani view of Pakistan's role in this war in which Azerbaijan defeated Armenia with the military help of Turkey and Pakistan. The Nagorno-Karabakh is a region where about 1,000 mujahideen from Afghanistan went to fight in the early years of the 1990s, according to the Pakistani media.[2]

This regional war of 2020, carried out when the international community's attention was consumed by the Coronavirus outbreak, is a key part of an emerging trilateral alliance in this region. Recently, MEMRI has published a series of research papers on this subject, notably: "A New Alliance Rising In The East – Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, China – And Its Enemies – The U.S. and India;"[3] and "Under The Emerging Turkey-Pakistan Strategic Alliance, Pakistan May Provide Turkey With Nuclear Weapons Capabilities."[4]

mdb258.jpg
Pakistani, Turkish, and Azeri flags on a wall in Karabakh after capture by Azerbaijan.[5]

On October 1, a day before Pakistan's denial, the Urdu-language daily Roznama Ummat wrote: "After the beginning of the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Pakistan and Turkey are siding with the brother-Islamic country of Azerbaijan."[6] Noting that Turkey is "openly" aiding Azerbaijan, the daily wrote further: "Being a close ally [of Turkey] and a Muslim country, Pakistan has also announced clearly support for Azerbaijan."[7]

Syed Ali Haider, a senior journalist and host with Pakistan's leading TV channel Samaa, posted a video about Pakistan's role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war on YouTube which was highlighted in Urdu as "Pakistani air force ki tarbiyat kaam dikha gayi" – i.e., "Pakistani air force's training worked" wonders against Armenia.[8] The video includes a clip of a MiG fighter jet flown by a young Azeri pilot who later died fighting Armenia and whom Haider celebrates as a "martyr," recommending that Azerbaijan honor him with their highest military award.[9]

However, the video's primary purpose is to celebrate the Pakistan air force's role in training Azeri pilots during the war. The clip included in the video could not have been obtained without access to the Pakistani military. In English, the YouTube video is titled: "Pakistan's training to Azerbaijani Pilots."[10] Haider's video, which does not appear to have been telecast on his Samaa television channel, was posted to YouTube five days after Pakistan's official denial.

Haider had also posted, two days after Pakistan's official denial, another video on YouTube. In this video, Haider sought to find out "the reason for Azeris' love for Pakistan, which they have begun to express clearly for the past few days."[11] He says: "One big important thing they have done is this: in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where these days tourism has begun walking, Pakistanis have started going in large numbers there in Baku, and tourism there is cheap, and visas for Pakistanis arrive stamped just in days, there is a large number of Pakistanis going there; and Allah willing, even I intend to go there once the clouds of war stop..."[12]

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Haider's video was posted on October 2, and the preceding nine to ten months saw lockdowns and international travel restrictions across the world due to the Coronavirus pandemic. So, it is surprising how large numbers of Pakistanis were visiting Azerbaijan in the period before October 2020 and after, unless of course they had official authorization from the government of Pakistan, most likely from the Pakistani military. This is process of Pakistanis visiting Azerbaijan in significant numbers seems, as discussed below, to have begun much before the Nagorno-Karabakh war began on September 27, 2020.

So, how was Baku for Pakistanis? Haider asks and responds: "Viewers, the Azeris there had hung flags of Pakistan and Turkey on their buildings, their residences, their offices. You see, at this time, Azeris are in a state of war, there is a conflict with Armenia, a war is underway formally. Armenia has, for several decades... occupied 30 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, their people are getting killed in war, they too are hurt; but think, in such a situation, what would have been the need for Azeris to raise the flags of Turkey and Pakistan on their buildings, to unfurl Pakistan's flag in their homes?"

The television journalist answers: "Pakistan must have done something. Friends, I will tell you what Pakistan has done for Azeris, not only Pakistan as a state, but that you Pakistanis have done something too I will tell you for which all Azeris are thankful."[13] After these introductory remarks, Haider discusses the background to the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict and why the war is underway. Noting that Pakistan has always supported Azerbaijan, he begins to draw a parallel with the Kashmir situation.

"Friends, if Azerbaijan can wrest its share [of territory] from Armenia, a stronger power than itself, by military muscle, by fighting, which we call by sword, which we call by the strength of arms, here I am not endorsing a war, but Pakistan too should not be afraid of India. If Azerbaijan can make Armenia eat chickpeas through the nose, then Pakistan's army is many times better than that of Azerbaijan [to do this to India in Kashmir]," he says.[14] Toward the conclusion, Haider adds: "Viewers, this is such a war in which, even unwillingly we are part of it, and as part of our own wish we are with Azerbaijan."[15]

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Pakistanis and Turkish flags hang over the balconies of a residential building in Baku

On October 8, Roznama Ummat published a report titled as "Pandemonium among enemies after Azerbaijan's _expression_ of gratitude to Pakistan – Pakistan's ambassador in Baku given a briefing on Armenian missile attacks..."[16] The report also noted that a webinar was held by the Azeri Embassy in Pakistan with the support of Pakistani officials on the defense of Azerbaijan.[17]

Among other things, the Urdu daily observed: "Many people had claimed that 'jihadis' from Pakistan and Afghanistan were being transferred to Azerbaijan. To some extent, this commotion is not without reason. An article was published in the Azeri-language newspaper Daily Telegraph on October 4 in which the armed forces of Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Turkey were called 'a power.' In this article, the size of the armed forces of Pakistan, Azeri forces, and the armed forces of Turkey was discussed. The article also referred to the military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan..."[18]

Pakistan's military relationship with Azerbaijan is not new. Another report in Roznama Ummat discussed the use of missiles and drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh war. It also noted: "This war is different from the conflict in 1994 when Azerbaijan's military stood demolished and being helpless after Armenia's invasion, the Azeri government sought help from the government of Pakistan and the mujahideen of Afghanistan."[19]

Although the Nagorno-Karabakh war began on September 27, it appears that Pakistan's support to Azerbaijan might have begun much earlier. In mid-August 2020, the Pakistani vlogger Moin Qazi posted a YouTube video titled, "Which Country Loves Pakistan Most?" The location of posting for the video is Baku. Qazi shows how he is overwhelmed by the love he gets as a Pakistani in Baku – a woman enables him to enter metro when he cannot speak Azeri, a shopkeeper refuses to take money for groceries, a youth shocks him when he says, "Pakistan and Azerbaijan are friends" by responding: "No friends, brothers, brothers."[20]

In the end, Qazi, who is surprised by the adulation he gets as a Pakistani in Azerbaijan, asks: "But the question arises: why do Azerbaijani people have so much love for Pakistan?" Qazi, being an ordinary Pakistani, is not well placed to answer this question, but Haider, being a journalist and knowledgeable about Pakistan's military involvement in Azerbaijan, was well placed to do so. Qazi says it is due to Pakistan's having been is among the first to recognize Azerbaijan in 1992 as the USSR fell apart. Qazi's vlog was tweeted by the Azeri Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Alizada on January 24, 2021.[21]

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December 12, 2020: a photo tweeted by Ambassador Alizada. His tweet reads: "The relief assistance for some of the needs of military personnel and others working in recently liberated territories of #Azerbaijan was delivered to #Baku by Pakistan."[22]

Roznama Ausaf – an Urdu daily published from six Pakistani cities, and London – carried a report titled as "Conflict with Armenia – Pakistani military's support for Azerbaijan."[23] According to the report, the Azeri ambassador to Islamabad Ali Alizada went, on October 9, to the Joint Staff Headquarters of the Pakistani military in Rawalpindi where General Nadeem Raza, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, told him: "The armed forces of Pakistan support completely Azerbaijan's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."[24]

On October 8, a day before the Rawalpindi meeting, a YouTube channel, which reports on Pakistani defense preparedness, noted: "A big delegation group will reach Islamabad today. This group will hold meetings with Pakistan's secret institutions and higher military officials. During this, it will discuss the purchase of all weapons necessary in the war in Azerbaijan. And the delivery of these weapons will be made available on an emergency basis."[25]

On the day Ambassador Ali Alizada was meeting General Nadeem Raza, Roznama Ausaf published an editorial titled "The Dream Of Making Pakistan An International Power And The Responsibilities."[26] The editorial, referring to a statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan about turning Pakistan into a global power, praised the role of Pakistan's nuclear weapons status achieved against numerous odds, adding: "Countries raising questions on the security of our nuclear assets today consider it a matter of pride to take lessons from our 'center of excellence.' If we can achieve excellence in this difficult technology, then why not in other fields?"[27]

After Azerbaijan won the war, there were celebrations in Baku and elsewhere in Azerbaijan. It is not incidental then that the Pakistani national flag, along with the Turkish and Azeri flags, were seen in these celebrations as well as in the liberated areas of Karabakh. On January 17, Ambassador Alizada shared a video of a street in the vicinity of Baku lined with the flags of all three countries, something that cannot be achieved without governmental support.[28] On January 28, Alizada shared a photo of a wall in a freed area of Karabakh with flags of Turkey, Pakistan, and Azerbaijan.[29] After victory, Alizada tweeted that "during the war" Azerbaijan showed strong unity and "was also supported by several countries" that were "with us on these days..."[30]

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Haider's video shows the Pakistani flag in Karabakh after Azerbaijan's victory

This analysis does not consider accusations of Pakistani military involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh war from non-Pakistani sources, such as the Armenian and Indian media. Pakistan has officially denied its role, but there is more here than meets the eye. After Joe Biden became the president of the United States, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi declared in an interview: "You have to engage with this new Pakistan."[31] Pakistan is new. Pakistan is bold.

In the same interview, Qureshi sought to explain why the Pakistani flag was seen in Azerbaijan's celebrations: "We had not handed them (flags), this was the people's emotions, acceptance and tribute to Pakistan."[32] This answer is at best a camouflage. Haider is more forthcoming. After Azerbaijan's victory, the Samaa television host returned to his YouTube channel. In his video, Haider reminds the viewers that they would have got the details of Azerbaijan's victory, "But I am going to tell you something different. That is, how Azerbaijan has decorated the tiara of its victory to the head of its friend-nation Pakistan, to the head of Turkey; how a Pakistani's respect has grown in Azerbaijan now, Pakistanis are now going to Baku, not Dubai..."[33]

Haider splashes photos of Pakistan's flags shown in Azerbaijan's supermarkets, streets, and victory celebrations, and offers his assessment of the situation: "You can imagine from this how much respect Azeris have begun giving to you and us. Its credit goes to the Pakistani military. This is the Pakistani military's success, viewers."[34] He also shows a photo of the Pakistani flag in Karabakh tweeted by Ambassador Alizada and his tweets. Haider notes how Alizada thanked Pakistan for its victory – in his tweet stating "Many thanks @ForeignOfficePk, @OfficialDGISPR & @GovtofPakistan"[35] – and singles out the fact that the Azeri ambassador has especially mentioned @OfficialDGISPR, which denotes the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations, i.e., the Pakistani military.[36]

* Tufail Ahmad is Senior Fellow at MEMRI

 

[1] Dawn.com (Pakistan), October 2, 2020.

[2] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), September 29, 2020.

[5] Facebook.com/pakarmyislam, January 25, 2021.

[6] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 1, 2020.

[7] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 1, 2020.

[8] YouTube.com/watch?v=jKGLoi_achE, October 7, 2020.

[9] YouTube.com/watch?v=jKGLoi_achE, October 7, 2020.

[10] YouTube.com/watch?v=jKGLoi_achE, October 7, 2020.

[11] Youtube.com/watch?v=BSpE7-lrB2Y, October 4, 2020.

[12] Youtube.com/watch?v=BSpE7-lrB2Y, October 4, 2020.

[13] Youtube.com/watch?v=BSpE7-lrB2Y, October 4, 2020.

[14] Youtube.com/watch?v=BSpE7-lrB2Y, October 4, 2020.

[15] Youtube.com/watch?v=BSpE7-lrB2Y, October 4, 2020.

[16] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 8, 2020.

[17] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 8, 2020.

[18] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 8, 2020.

[19] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 12, 2020.

[20] YouTube.com/watch?v=suuzNpIUCQc, August 13, 2020.

[21] Twitter.com/ali_f_alizada, January 24, 2021.

[22] Twitter.com/ali_f_alizada, December 12, 2020.

[23] Roznama Ausaf (Pakistan), October 10, 2020.

[24] Roznama Ausaf (Pakistan), October 10, 2020.

[25] YouTube.com/watch?v=mL8WqrDO_4A, October 8, 2020.

[26] Roznama Ausaf (Pakistan), October 9, 2020.

[27] Roznama Ausaf (Pakistan), October 9, 2020.

[28] Twitter.com/ali_f_alizada, January 17, 2021.

[29] Twitter.com/ali_f_alizada, January 28, 2021.

[30] Twitter.com/ali_f_alizada, November 10, 2020.

[31] Pakistan Today (Pakistan), January 24, 2021.

[32] Pakistan Today (Pakistan), January 24, 2021.

[33] YouTube.com/watch?v=XFiNkVcnCqE, November 11, 2020.

[34] YouTube.com/watch?v=XFiNkVcnCqE, November 11, 2020.

[35] Twitter.com/ali_f_alizada, November 10, 2020.

[36] YouTube.com/watch?v=XFiNkVcnCqE, November 11, 2020.



#2562 Yervant1

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Posted 10 February 2021 - 09:05 AM

Armenpress.am
 

Azeri authorities block Christian pilgrimage from Armenia to Dadivank, demand extra paperwork

 
 
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1042852.jpg 15:48, 9 February, 2021

STEPANAKERT, FEBRUARY 9, ARMENPRESS. Azerbaijani authorities have barred a group of Armenian Christian pilgrims from entering the Dadivank monastery, demanding that from now on they should receive a manifest listing the identities of pilgrims beforehand.

“Previously, the Azerbaijani side was demanding only the number of pilgrims heading to Davdivank, and the number was to be no more than 30 persons,” the Prelate of the Diocese of Artsakh of the Armenian Apostlich Church Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan told ARMENPRESS. “Now they are demanding us to present nominal lists beforehand. Therefore, on Sunday we will provide the list of pilgrims with the peacekeepers in order not to have other difficulties in entering Dadivank,” he said.

 
 

Pilgrims from Armenia are visiting Dadivank accompanied by Russian peacekeepers. 

Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan

 

 

https://armenpress.a...TQ4gkDGmIYSuNyc



#2563 Yervant1

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Posted 10 February 2021 - 09:08 AM

Middle East Eye
Feb 10 2021
 
 
Lebanese-Armenian family searches for woman who disappeared in Nagorno-Karabakh
Maral Najarian has been unaccounted for since November, with relatives worried about her fate and angry about the inaction of authorities in Lebanon and Armenia
 
 
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Najarian's siblings suspect she’s in an Azerbaijani prison and fear for her life - as they accuse authorities both in Lebanon and Armenia of not doing enough to help get her released (Social media)
 
By   in 
Beirut

For Maral Najarian, moving to Armenia was supposed to be a dream come true.

The 49-year-old Lebanese-Armenian moved last August from economically shattered Lebanon, hoping to find a better future and financial stability in a place she felt an attachment to.

But on arrival to Yerevan, Armenian authorities encouraged her to sign up to a settlement programme in the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh, which soon after she set up home there became embroiled in a ferocious six-week conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Both sides agreed to a Russian-brokered ceasefire on 10 November - but that same day, Najarian and family friend Viken Euljekian went missing on their way out of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Three months later, her siblings both in Beirut and Yerevan suspect she’s in an Azerbaijani prison and fear for her life - as they accuse authorities both in Lebanon and Armenia of not doing enough to help get her released.

 


#2564 Yervant1

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Posted 16 February 2021 - 08:51 AM

The Torch | Boston College's Catholic Newspaper
Feb 15 2021
 
 
Finding Peace in Uncertainty: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

On Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijani forces began bombarding and invading the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, a mountainous, Armenian territory situated in the Lesser Caucasus. Armenia and Azerbaijan, both located between the Eurasian nations of Turkey, Russia, and Iran, have a long history of conflict and have seen heightened tensions that led to a full-scale war last fall. 

The Nagorno-Karabakh territory is a historically Armenian-inhabited area that was turned over to Bolshevik-Azerbaijani governance during the early Soviet period, despite over 90 percent of the region’s population being Armenian. Armenian citizens are 97.9 percent Christian, with adherents of the Armenian Apostolic or Orthodox Church consisting of the vast majority of that group, while 96 percent of Azerbaijani citizens are Muslim. Religion, as well as ethnicity, are often cited as large sources of rivalry and distrust between the two countries. 

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After many years of tension during the 20th-century, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms to expand liberties and democracy for the USSR in 1986, which led many Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to call and demonstrate for full integration with then-Soviet Armenia. In response to this, then-Soviet Azerbaijan instituted various anti-Armenian pogroms in its controlled land, which entailed brutal murders, assaults, and expulsions of many ethnic Armenians lasting from 1988 until 1990. 

After violence had continued escalating in the Nagorno-Karabakh region during this period and afterward, in 1992, after both Azerbaijan and Armenia had left the Soviet Union, full-scale war broke out between the two powers. A Russian-brokered, tentative peace would be reached in May 1994, leaving Nagorno-Karabakh controlled by Armenia, about 30,000 soldiers and civilians killed on both sides, and hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis displaced in the region. 

Until that day in September 2020, with the exception of a minor, four-day conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2016, the territory had not suffered large-scale conflict since the 1990s. Nearly all of the fighting took place in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, with Turkish military personnel and weaponry assisting the Azerbaijan forces in taking and occupying the region. 

On Nov. 9, 2020, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a ceasefire negotiated with the Russian Federation, but only after six-weeks of intense warfare that saw Azerbaijan capture significant portions of territories in the region. During that time, over 5,000 Azerbaijani and Armenian soldiers perished, at least 143 civilians of both nationalities have died, and more than 130,000 civilians on both sides have been displaced. 

With this tentative peace deal, Azerbaijan has gained control of the vast majority of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, with Russian peacekeepers, for the time being, backing the Armenian government in the central portion of the territory. Important religious and culturally significant Armenian landmarks are now under the control of Azerbaijan, including the Armenian Apostolic Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shusha, which experienced shelling and alleged vandalism since the 2020 conflict started. 

“It’s more of a recent [cathedral], but it’s become a big symbol for the region as a whole in terms of religion just because it is the region’s cathedral,” Raffi Toghramadjian, an ethnic-Armenian American and CSOM ‘21, said referring to the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. “As for these monasteries, now that they’re being brought back in the public attention, you feel the most connected to things when they’re at risk of being taken away; so I think that might help people feel a greater call to go visit or help rebuild them.”

Despite increased tensions and uncertainty from civil authorities regarding the prospect of many Armenians not being able to return to their homes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a reliance on God is bringing about interior peace and freedom. 

 

“During the Soviet era, the Soviet government imposed atheism on everyone and a lot of Armenians, even if they still identified themselves as Christian or believed in Christian doctrines, they weren’t really all too active… So I think during the [2020] war there was some element of turning back towards the Apostolic Church for support and comfort,” Toghramadjian said. “You can see really cool videos of soldiers right before they’re going to battle being baptized by priests. I think the priests were pretty active in supporting the soldiers and being there with them… It could help going forward if people feel a greater call to be connected with the Apostolic Church and Armenian identity.”

Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Sept. 27, 2020, during his Sunday Angelus prayer and, with the war still raging, did so again on Oct. 11, 2020 and Nov. 1, 2020. During his “Urbi et Orbi” address on Christmas Day, the pope asked Christ for a tentative peace agreement in the territory. 

“May the Son of the Most High sustain the commitment of the international community and the countries involved to continue the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in the eastern regions of Ukraine, and to foster dialogue as the sole path to peace and reconciliation,” Pope Francis said. 

On Dec. 8, 2020, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Catholicos Karekin II, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, addressed the war-weary nation and its former inhabitants now living abroad. 

“These are hard days of pain, distress, and anxiety we are living through, after confronting the horrors of war. We have suffered the martyrdom of thousands of our heroic children; endured the loss of a significant part of the historical realm of Artsakh; and witnessed the greatest of external threats to our existence,” Catholicos Karekin II said. “The conviction shared by all is that this destructive situation must be resolved in an exclusively constitutional way, under conditions of national solidarity and common sense… We now call on Armenia’s National Assembly to act responsibly at this critical juncture for our homeland: to listen to the calls of the general public; to elect a new Prime Minister in consultation with the political parties; and to form an interim government of national unity.”

There are multiple ways to help bring about a just and peaceful solution in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to Toghramadjian. 

“Obviously prayer is one of the most important things that we can all do. There are various charities that are helping out. I think the International Red Cross is doing a lot of good work in helping the civilians get back to normal and receive medical treatment,” Toghramadjian said. “The other important thing that people need to do, especially in the U.S., is to contact their representatives to make sure our elected officials know about this issue and people want the U.S. to move forward in helping create a just solution for everyone.”

Toghramadjian is skeptical about a permanent and peaceable resolution to the dispute in the near future.

“The ultimate solution has to be something between the two governments… If nothing changes, I think there will be another war in the future, because both sides are not satisfied right now. Definitely, there needs to be some sort of diplomatic solution. I’m not too hopeful that will happen, basically the two sides seem too far apart,” Toghramadjian said. “Maybe if Russia, the United States, France, and Turkey got together and put intense pressure on the two sides to come to an agreement, there might be something. But right now it seems there’s not much real diplomacy between Armenia and Azerbaijan… There’s a worry that maybe in five years, Azerbaijan will ask the Russians to leave and then there will be, maybe not a full war, but more violence along the border.”

In Georgia, a country in the Caucasus mountain region, communities of ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis live close together and have strong economic and social ties, which Toghramadjian sees as an impressive example for peaceful and mutually beneficial living between the nations at a larger level. Toghramadjian also understands and appreciates the theological values that can bring Muslims and Christians together throughout the world. 

“The Muslims appreciate the concept of the Christians as fellow people of the Book and that they’re to be treated with some respect at least. And obviously, Christians are really focused on not being violent against anyone, especially not persecuting people religiously,” Toghramadjian said. “There have been accounts of some pretty horrible atrocities that have come out of the [2020] war in all these videos and pictures more so from the Azeri side, but also I’ve seen a couple of Armenian soldiers doing that. There’s room for greater respect on a personal level that needs to come from some sort of religious, ethical basis.”

On Jan. 11, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders in Moscow to further discuss the details of the peace agreement reached in November and find ways to develop economic and communal harmony in the region.

 
 
 
World News Editor
Max Montana is a sophomore studying political science and theology: religion & public life. He is from Jacksonville, Florida so he has a vested interest in seeing the Jaguars win a Super Bowl. While not covering the Vatican, the Catholic Church in America, and happenings on campus for The Torch, Max enjoys getting to know people over coffee, learning more about the Catholic faith, and advocating for the unborn and mothers in need.
 
 
 


#2565 Yervant1

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Posted 16 February 2021 - 08:52 AM

Aysor, Armenia
Feb 15 2021
 
 
Armenia’s authorities should have recognized Artsakh independence during the war – Armenia’s ex-president
 

The incumbent authorities of Armenia should have recognized Artsakh independence during the war, Armenia’s third president Serzh Sargsyan stated in the interview to Armnews TV Channel.

“I cannot understand why during those 44 days these authorities did not recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh. They should have done it,” he said, adding that if co-chairs, international community considered that the recognition of NK independence would have taken negotiations to the deadlock and result in war what bothered to do it when the war was already unleashed.

He noted that sooner or later the Armenian side will succeed and it is just necessary to find right time and tell the world that we recognize the NK independence to save its people from annihilation.

 


#2566 Yervant1

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Posted 16 February 2021 - 08:53 AM

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 15 2021
 
 
Azerbaijani troops firing from large caliber weapons in the vicinity of Armenian villages (video)
 
 

Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has shared footage depicting the firing by Azerbaijani armed forces of both small and large caliber weapons in the immediate vicinity of villages in Armenia’s Syunik province.

The video was recorded two days ago, at different times of the day, in the middle of Agarak and Yeghvard villages of Kapan community; the footage was captured by the border guards at the line of contact.

The distance from the place of these shootings to Agarak village is only one kilometer.

The Armenian Human Rights Ombudsman periodically receives alerts from residents of Kapan villages on shooting by the Azerbaijani military.

“All of these once again confirm that in the immediate vicinity of Syunik communities, and on the roads connecting those communities, there should not be any Azerbaijani military forces. The presence of these forces seriously endangers the rights of Armenian civilians, disturbs their peace and peaceful life,” the Ombudsman says. 

 


#2567 Yervant1

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 09:13 AM

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 18 2021
 
 
f602e0efe66822_602e0efe66863.thumb.jpg
Politics 10:53 18/02/2021NKR
Azerbaijan now at war with Armenian cultural property in Artsakh: statement

Azerbaijan is now at war with Armenian cultural property in the Artsakh territories controlled by it, Artsakh’s State Service of Historical Environment Protection (Artsakh Monuments) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The monitoring of the state institution and testimony of eyewitnesses have revealed extreme forms of vandalism against Armenian monuments dedicated to the Artsakh Liberation War in the territories occupied by Azerbaijan during the 2020 war.

“Barbaric acts are committed against the graves of the fallen freedom fighters. They have broken and destroyed the monument in honor of the victims of World War II in the village of Tog, the tombstones of Vigen Grigoryan, a prominent figure of Artsakh liberation war, a knight of the "Battle Cross" order of the second degree of Artsakh and Armencho, an active participant in the Liberation War and a knight of the "Battle Cross" order of the first degree.

“The cemetery of the Mets Tager village of the Hadrut region has been leveled to the ground. In Talish, Karin Tak, Mokhrenes, monuments to the Artsakh Liberation War were ruined, and in Zardarashen and Avetaranots they were desecrated, individual khachkars were destroyed in different villages.

“The enemy is now at war with our cultural property,” the statement said.

https://www.panorama...Artsakh/2453746



#2568 Yervant1

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 09:17 AM

Armenpress.am
 

As Azeris destroy WWII memorial in Artsakh, newspaper warns of fascism rebirth and new Hitler’s rise

 
1043842.jpg 17:18, 18 February, 2021

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 18, ARMENPRESS. Multiple cases of vandalism are recorded in the territories of Artsakh that have gone under Azerbaijani control after the 2020 war.

Infoteka24, a leading online news portal, labeled the Azeri vandalisms as a “rebirth of fascist ideology”.

 
 

“The memorial honoring the heroes of the Great Patriotic War wasn’t chosen coincidentally by the brutes. Today, a rebirth of fascist ideology is taking place in Azerbaijan, against which the entire world fought in the 20th century. The silence of the international community will soon lead to two new Hitlers emerging in the world, in person of Erdogan and Aliyev,” Infoteka wrote in an article, referring to the desecration of the WWII memorial in the village of Avetaranots.

It mentioned that international organizations, politicians, including the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, have all condemned the vandalisms committed by Azerbaijanis in Artsakh, but no actions followed.

 

Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan

 

 

https://armenpress.a...5tofHoo9qXdx4wQ



#2569 Yervant1

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 12:21 PM

eKathimerini, Greece
Feb 19 2021
 
David Phillips: The reality of Turkey’s occupation in Syria, and human rights violations in Nagorno Karabakh
David Phillips: The reality of Turkey’s occupation in Syria, and human rights violations in Nagorno Karabakh | eKathimerini.com

Expert David Phillips joins The Greek current to explain why a recent New York Times article is being called out by a number of experts who say it whitewashes Turkey’s occupation of Afrin in Syria. We also explore David Phillips’ latest article on the international community’s failure to protect civilians in Nagorno Karabakh from human rights abuses.

Phillips is the Director of the Program on Human Rights and Peace-building at Columbia University. Phillips is also a former senior adviser to the UN Secretariat and US State Department, and the author of the books The Great Betrayal: How America Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East, and An Uncertain Ally: Turkey Under Erdogan's Dictatorship.

Listen to the interview at the link below

https://www.ekathime...gorno-karabakh/



#2570 Yervant1

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 12:22 PM

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 19 2021
 
 
Anti-Armenian billboard in Philadelphia taken down
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The Philadelphia community succeeded in the removal of an Azerbaijani billboard spreading misinformation, reports the Armenian National Committee of Pennsylvania.

Lamar Advertising, the company that owns the billboard space, confirmed the ad was removed.

The ad was purchased by MUSIAD USA, a Turkish organization.

The positive outcome is a testament to the Armenian community in Philadelphia and its ability to stand united against acts of hate and any attempts at distorting history. Armenia has and will always want peace.

 
 


#2571 Yervant1

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 09:02 AM

Aysor, Armenia
Feb 23 2021
 
 
 
Armenia's PM says they used Iskander but it did not work
 

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan speaking in an interview today answered the question on why the Armenian side did not use Iskander during the war.

Q: Serzh Sargsyan said “I am surprised why on the 3d or 4th day of the war Iskander was not used. Is this addressed to you?”

A: May be it is addressed to me, but I think the “rejected” [Serzh Sargsyan] should know answers to numerous questions and not give questions the answers to which he knows. So, may be they will answer why the used Iskander did not explode or exploded by 10% for example.

Q: Does it happen so?

A: I don’t know.

Q: It was news… it was interesting news.

A: May be it was weapon of 80s?

 
 
 


#2572 MosJan

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:56 AM

https://www.aysor.am...sparyan/1805043

 

Russian reporter, president of Izvestia paper’s Board of Directors Aram Gabrelyanov revealed the details of conversation with the head of the Chief of Staff of Armenia’s Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan.

He said he decided to do it after the circulation of Iskander issue.

“About a month ago in Moscow I had a hard and long conversation with head of the Chief of Staff of Armenia’s Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan. I cannot tell about everything but after Nikol raised the issue of this unique weapon, I will almost word to word quote what Onik said and you later decide,” Gabrelyanov wrote in his Telegram channel and quoted Gasparyan’s words:

“On the third day of the war as head of army’s headquarters I decided to use Iskander on two strategic sites – Baku-Ceyhan oil pipe and another one. Pashinyan expressly forbade, though the Russians made it clear that it is our matter, our war. Three days before Shushi’s falling, I requested permission from Pashinyan to hit with two Iskanders on the huge gathering of manpower at the foot of Shushi. Pashinyan expressly forbade, saying that the world community would curse us if we killed few thousands of enemy soldiers at once. The only time I was allowed to use Iskander was toward Shushi town. I used it. We used it and managed to bring few tanks to the town. Two days later I received order to leave Shushi and retreat.”



#2573 Yervant1

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 08:44 AM

I'm having a hard time to believe anyone anymore, it seems the truth lies somewhere that is not known to us. There are a lot of politics going on devoid of truth. Very sad indeed!



#2574 Yervant1

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 08:52 AM

Morning Star, UK
Feb 23 2021
 
 
 
Anti-fascist forces blast Turkish president over plans to open Grey Wolves school in Nagorno-Karabakh  
AP21046499372371.jpg?itok=bwdSbAe6&c=cef
 

ANTI-FASCIST forces in Turkey blasted authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s links to right-wing paramilitary death squads today after reports that he will open a new Grey Wolves school in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.

He will lay the foundation for the building alongside Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in the city of Shushi, which was taken by Azeri forces in November 2020 after a three-day battle.

Turkey’s neofascist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli pitched the idea earlier this year, but the school’s construction is seen as a deeply provocative move as the Grey Wolves have been responsible for the extrajudicial killings of minorities, including Armenians. Until the Azeri invasion, the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh had been run by its Armenian majority since 1994.

A spokesman for Turkey’s United Fighting Forces (BGM), a newly formed coalition of communist and leftist parties that includes Figen Yuksekdag’s Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), Partizan and the Revolutionary Party, condemned the move.

“The Grey Wolves are a dark stain on Turkey’s blood-soaked history and responsible for the massacre of thousands of Kurds, Alevis and minorities, and attacks on trade unionists, communists and progressives,” he said.

“Tayyip Erdogan and his fascist alliance will be defeated by a united struggle of all layers of the oppressed, There is a big explosion of anger against fascism seen in the struggle at Bogazici [university] — but also at the deepening economic crisis which is pushing more into poverty.”

The Grey Wolves organisation is seen as the paramilitary wing of the MHP, responsible for thousands of deaths in Turkey. Funded and trained by the CIA as part of the Operation Gladio “stay behind movements” after World War II, it targets leftist movements and those that deviate from its strict Sunni Islamic ideals.

The group’s most notorious attack came in December 1978, when more than 100 of the country’s Alevi community were killed in a 10-day pogrom known as the Maras Massacre, which led directly to the 1980 military coup.

Grey Wolves founder Alparslan Turkes had strong links with the so-called “founding father” of the World Uighur Congress, Isa Yusuf Alptekin. They both campaigned for the eradication of communism among the Turkic populations of Soviet Central Asia and Xinjiang.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Grey Wolves set up training camps for young people in central Asia, but having failed to attract support, the group moved to China’s Xinjiang province, where it targeted recruitment among the Uighur community and supported the East Turkestan independence movement.

  https://morningstaro...fascist-school-occupied-artsakh  



#2575 Yervant1

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 08:48 AM

Washington Post
Feb 26 2021


One woman’s bomb-filled garden in Nagorno-Karabakh points to lingering perils from war

 

 

pngrQOrmKbQdF.png

 
A member of the Halo Trust team places a danger sign in front of an unexploded rocket in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, on Oct. 14, 2020. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jack Losh
Feb. 26, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. GMT+2

KAGHARTSI, Nagorno-Karabakh — After last year's war, 79-year-old Mila Babayan expected to come home without much fuss and resume her quiet life.

Then she looked in her garden. She found 32 unexploded shells from one of the cluster bombs that rights groups and other war monitors say were used in the fighting across Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave at the heart of a decades-long feud between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“One of them had hit a beehive,” she said. “And there was a hole where my garlic grew.”

Babayan’s garden is no isolated case. Thousands of unexploded munitions — cluster bombs, mortar rounds, rockets, shells and other weapons — now dot the region in streets, backyards and homes, said experts in ordnance removal.

While fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh lasted just 44 days, its repercussions will persist for decades.

“It’s shocking to come back, having spent three years clearing land mines here, and see the whole region littered with these items yet again,” said Nick Smart, regional director for the Halo Trust, a Britain-based organization that removes explosive remnants of war.

Russian peacekeepers, deployed under the Moscow-brokered cease-fire, and Nagorno-Karabakh’s rescue services also are involved in ordnance disposal in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is largely under pro-Armenian control but within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.

Why Nagorno-Karabakh has pitted Armenia and Azerbaijan for decades

Authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan deny using cluster munitions — which can eject hundreds of smaller “bomblets,” or submunitions, over a wide area. The two countries also reject witness reports of military strikes against civilian areas.

A representative from Armenia’s foreign affairs ministry told Human Rights Watch that Armenia does not have cluster munitions in its arsenal. Azerbaijan, which is widely believed to have such weapons, denied that their forces used them in Nagorno-Karabakh.

But reports by groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch describe use of cluster munitions and other weapons on both sides in Nagorno-Karabakh.


 
pngwGfVcnsLZk.png
 
Mila Babayan, pictured by her beehives and vegetable patch in Kaghartsi, Nagorno-Karabakh. (Jack Losh)

Neither country has signed up to the treaty that prohibits the use of cluster bombs. Amnesty estimates that between 5 and 20 percent of the bomblets can fail to explode, allowing them to kill or maim civilians long after a conflict has ended.

Babayan, an ethnic Armenian, scoured her single-story home for more explosives, but found none.

“Still,” she added, “I must be careful.”

Amnesty International said Armenia has Russian-manufactured 9N235 submunitions and Azerbaijan’s arsenal appears to include the Israeli-made M095. Distinctive for their pink ribbons, which stabilize and arm the device in the air, the M095 bombs are particularly attractive to children.

On a cloudy morning in December, a Halo team arrived at Babayan’s home in Kaghartsi, about 16 miles east of the regional capital, Stepanakert.

First they surveyed the site, walking cautiously around the vegetable patch. They counted an initial 10 M095 submunitions strewn among soft clods of earth. Five others lay around a single beehive. More were scattered through a surrounding orchard.

Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare

One deminer began planting red-tipped markers into the ground to show the location of each bomb, while another scanned for more with a metal detector. Two others team members shoveled earth into sandbags to stack around the bombs.

Babyan — wearing a floral dress, woolen cardigan and headscarf — ambled with ease over slippery mud to watch.

“Grandma, we’re going to sort this out so you can garden again,” said one team member. “We’re filing these sandbags so your beehives and home won’t be damaged by the explosion.”

As she walked farther up the garden, another sapper called after her: “Grandma, look where you’re walking!”


 
pngLBSui0E4Ei.png
A member of a survey team from the Halo Trust mine-clearing organization passes by unexploded items at a storage area near Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, on Nov. 23, 2020. (Sergei Grits/AP)

Babayan suggested they take a break. “Let’s have a cup of tea,” she said.

“No, no,” replied one team member. “Thank you.”

“But I’ve already set the table! Everything is ready. You haven’t drunk a single cup.”

“Okay,” he grinned. “We’ll drink it all. Don’t worry.”

Babayan dashed inside to put the kettle on.

Besides the fighting, the rhythms of daily life had changed little since she was born in 1941 in Nagorno-Karabakh. “I love this land,” she said. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

After Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal, fearful ethnic Armenians on the move

A peace agreement in November returned to Azerbaijan some areas lost in warfare in the early 1990s. Babayan’s son-in-law, a father of three, was among that war’s 20,000 to 30,000 fatalities.

 
pngn0h2U13MFo.png
Mila Babayan, center, and her niece with deminers from the Halo Trust team in Kaghartsi, Nagorno-Karabakh. (Jack Losh)

Her grandchildren fought on the Armenian side in last year’s war. She waited out the conflict with relatives in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and returned after the cease-fire.

“Look around you,” she said, gesturing at farmhouses, fields and fruit trees. “Does this look like a military target?”

Outside, the deminers finished stacking the sandbags, then laid a detonation cord that connected to TNT placed by the bombs.

Babayan headed to her basement. After a 15-minute wait, the call came — “Fire!”

A single, powerful blast echoed through the hills.

The team regrouped. Babayan appeared relieved — she could finally treat her guests to lunch.

Jars of pickled beans and peppers were opened, served along with bowls of stewed eggplant and toasted flatbreads smeared thick with honey.

“Eat, eat,” she insisted. “Take as much as you like.”

Thousands more bombs lay in the surrounding land. But, for Babayan, a good harvest could be reaped.




 


#2576 Yervant1

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:40 AM

Where are the world governments? Why they are not involved in this search for the illegal use of this poison? They went crazy in Syria, every media covered it, why there is no coverage for this crime. Only handful of reporters doing it as freelance reporters!  

CIVILNET.AM

 
28 February, 2021 21:52
 

Warning: this video contains sensitive content.

Canadian freelance journalist Fin dePencier is traveling through hospitals in Armenia to document the impact of white phosphorus that was used on soldiers and civilians in the Second Karabakh War.

During the 44-day war, when the battles moved from the southern flatlands into the thick forests, Azerbaijani forces fired white phosphorus munitions throughout Karabakh. From October 29 to 31, the villages and towns were lit with white phosphorus, which, when in contact with flesh, kills the victims by burning the bone. The environmental damage to the area has yet to be assessed. 

According to Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the use of air-dropped incendiary weapons against military objectives within a concentration of civilians is prohibited and can be classified as a war crime.

 

pngYRe0GY8zCV.png

https://www.civilnet...Karabakh/421070

 

 



#2577 Yervant1

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 08:59 AM

Panorama, Armenia
March 1 2021
 
 
Polish politician offers himself in exchange for Armenian POWs in Azerbaijan
 
pngrMjBzkqMcE.png

Polish politician Tomasz Lech Buczek, who actively presented Azerbaijan's war crimes in Artsakh from the very beginning of the 2020 war, has sent a letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, offering himself in exchange for Armenian prisoners of war (POWs).

“In the name of eternal truth, faith and love for others. In the name of humanism, I propose the President that my person, Tomasz Lech Buczek, be exchanged for Armenian prisoners of war detained, humiliated and tortured in Azerbaijan. With the condition of their immediate release,” the letter said.

There are over 300 desperate families waiting for them, Buczek noted.

Earlier in February, the politician sent the first copy of his publication about the Azerbaijani war crimes against the Armenians of Artsakh during the recent war to Aliyev and a number of world leaders, including Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden. 

 

I want to give myself up for Armenian prisoners of war. I sent offert to Aliyev email president Azerbaijan

Posted by Tomasz Lech Buczek on Sunday, February 28, 2021



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#2578 Yervant1

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:39 AM

Public Radio of Armenia
March 2 2021
 
 
Belgian Senator raises the issue of Armenian POWs at OSCE PA meeting – Public Radio of Armenia
Belgian Senator raises the issue of Armenian POWs at OSCE PA meeting
 
 

Flemish parliamentarian and member of the Belgian Senate Mark Demesmaeker raised the issue of the Armenian captives and prisoners of war still detained by the Azerbaijani authorities during the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly winter plenary meeting, reports the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).

“I am alarmed by the reports. Reports about the estimates that there are more than 200 Armenian captives and prisoners of war in Azerbaijan. […] Reports about torture, both physical and psychological, and humiliation of the Armenian captives and prisoners of war, often published on the internet,” the lawmaker said.

“We can speak about an ongoing violation of International Humanitarian Law in the treatment of the Armenian hostages, and we insist it is addressed by the international community and the OSCE as a matter of urgency,” said Demesmaeker.

 


#2579 Yervant1

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 08:29 AM

Panorama, Armenia
March 3 2021
 
 
Carey Cavanaugh: Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh not more durable than after the fighting back in the 1990s

Former US Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh and Eurasian Conflicts Carey Cavanaugh has commented on the developments in Nagorno-Karabakh after the recent war, insisting the situation today after the fighting is no more durable than the situation after the fighting back in the 1990s.

"Aliyev has said repeatedly, and I disagree, that ‘diplomatic solutions were never there, he solved it, solved it with military force.' I would argue it’s not solved,"  Cavanaugh tweeted excepts from his interview on the topic. 

In the words of the former co-chairman, the Nagorno-Karabakh still lacks definitive peace settlement and without it one can never get beyond the risk of a re-eruption of hostilities.

”Situation can be resolved, can be negotiated – but can’t simply fight and solve," added he. 

https://www.panorama...arabakh/2462300



#2580 Yervant1

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 10:09 AM

Public Radio of Armenia
March 4 2021
 
 
 
German Bundestag hosts discussion on Armenian POWs held in Azerbaijan
 
 

Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan presented a report at a special online discussion on Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan organized in the German Bundestag.

The discussion took place under the chairmanship of Michael Brandt, Chairman of the Bundestag Standing Committee on Human Rights, and Marian Wendt, Chair of the Bundestag Petition Committee. More than 70 German deputies took part in the discussion.

The Defender raised the issue of the urgency of the return of prisoners of war — servicemen and civilians — of the Armenian side detained in Azerbaijan. Arman Tatoyan noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying and politicizing the process so as to cause mental suffering to the Armenian society and especially to the families of the captives, and in order to create tension in the country.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia presented in detail the international humanitarian and human rights rules which require the immediate release of prisoners and their safe return. The Ombudsman emphasized the gross violations of international humanitarian law and the rights of prisoners who are wrongly portrayed as “terrorists” given the circumstances of ongoing armed conflict.

The Ombudsman also provided information on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the war (beheadings, torture, humiliation of bodies, etc).

Arman Tatoyan thanked the members of the German Parliament for the discussion.

The Human Rights Defender hailed the assistance of the Armenian Embassy in Germany in organizing this discussion.

The evidence on the Azerbaijani atrocities and torture collected by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia was passed on by the Armenian Ambassador Ashot Smbatyan to Amnesty International in Germany.

 





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