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Azerbaijani President's Statements Violate International Humanitarian Law: Arman Tatoyan

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan has reacted to the speech made by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on January 7, stating that the Azerbaijani leader’s statements violate international humanitarian law. Below is the ombudsman’s statement posted on Facebook on Friday.

"Yesterday, on January 7, 2021, the President of Azerbaijan, in his speech summarizing 2020, used statements and emphases which are part of the anti-Armenian policy in Azerbaijan and the organized propaganda of hostility towards the Armenian people.

In particular, the speech used open threats against Armenia and the Armenian society, expressions threatening the entire Armenian people and insulting their dignity.

The speech also referred to the isolation of Artsakh, and to the disruption of humanitarian aid to Artsakh. This, as a matter of law, violates the internationally recognized principle that no one should be left behind and  no human right ignored, regardless of the political status of the territory in which one is present or resides therein.

The Ombudsman of Armenia deems it imperative to note that the speech of the President of Azerbaijan should be viewed in the context that the entirety of the war of September-November 2020 was accompanied by the Azerbaijani armed forces’ onslaught onto internationally recognized rights to life, health, property, and other internationally protected rights of Armenians. These gross violations of rights were carried out and caused mass destruction of peaceful Armenian residential towns, villages and communities. Similar violations were also recorded at different times and instances which predated this war.

The wording and emphasis of this speech should be viewed in the context of the condemnable actions committed by the Azerbaijani military in recent days against the border residents of our country and, in general, our people.

Here are just two such examples, which are based on alarming complaints addressed to Armenia’s Human Rights Defender from civilians of bordering regions, as well as on monitoring of the Defender’s Office:

1) placing a sign with "Welcome to Azerbaijan" and a map covering the territory of the Republic of Armenia in the middle of the road connecting the two communities of Syunik region of Armenia, Goris and Vorotan, and doing it in a way that intimidates civilians;

2) placing Azerbaijani flags on civilian houses in peaceful communities of Syunik region and posting videos that clearly offend civilians in order to blatantly intimidate them and much more.

And all these activities provoking civilians are done against the background of the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during this war.

Therefore, I draw the attention of the international community to the fact that the distortions and emphases of the speech of the President of Azerbaijan on January 7, 2021 violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law in general.

These sentiments are absolutely reprehensible in as much as they continue to serve to encourage anti-Armenian policies and hostility towards the Armenian people at the highest state level."

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