Read daily news summary for January 30-31 here.
UN human rights experts called for the prompt release of prisoners of war and other captives from the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and for the return of bodies to families for burial with due respect for cultural customs.
‘Failure to disclose information on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons and refusal to hand over the remains of the deceased may amount to enforced disappearance, which both Azerbaijan and Armenia have committed to preventing,’ the experts said.
‘We are alarmed at allegations that prisoners of war and other protected persons have been subjected to extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill-treatment,’ the expert added.
Human Rights Watch alarmed in December about widely circulated videos depicting Armenian captives subjected to inhuman treatment, physical abuse, and humiliation by Azerbaijani forces. ECHtR, in turn, urged the Azerbaijani government, which artificially delays the release of Armenian PoWs, to provide documented information about the detention of Armenian PoWs, their whereabouts, conditions of detention, and medical assistance. So far, Azerbaijan has failed to provide the real number of PoWs and initiated prosecution against them.
‘We are alarmed at allegations that prisoners of war and other protected persons have been subjected to extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill-treatment,’ the UN human rights experts said.
‘No exceptional circumstances whatsoever – whether a state of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency – may be invoked as a justification of torture and enforced disappearances,’ they added. ‘Such acts, when perpetrated in armed conflict, may also constitute war crimes.’
Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement, expressing its deep concern over the ‘intentions of the ultra-right nationalist Turkish Nationalist Movement Party and its affiliated extremist neo-fascist organization “Gray Wolves” to implement certain projects in the territories that passed under Azerbaijani control after the recent Nagorno Karabakh war, in particular in the town of Shushi,’ ArtsakhPress.am informs.
‘The presence of any kind of foreign forces in the occupied territories of Artsakh, promoting the ideology of pan-Turkism and neo-fascism and resorting to terror as the main means of achieving their goals, poses a great threat not only to the Republic of Artsakh but also to regional and global security,’ the statement reads.
‘The fact that these forces are supported by the top leadership of Turkey and Azerbaijan for the implementation of their projects in occupied Shushi testifies to the plans of Ankara and Baku to create hotbeds of tensions in the region and the neighboring countries, as well as to undermine the efforts of the international community for the peaceful, comprehensive, and just settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict,’ the Ministry said.
In November 2020 France banned ‘Grey Wolves’ after defecting a memorial of victims of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The memorial had ‘Grey wolves’ and the initials of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan written on it. Earlier in October, footage of Turkish and Azerbaijani nationalists marching in Lyon and Vienne, France with Turkish flags and ‘hunting for Armenians’, were heard chanting ‘Allahu akbar’ and shouting violent threats like: ‘We are going to kill the Armenians.’
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has said to the Russian TASS news agency the status of Nagorno Karabakh is not resolved yet.
‘It is completely obvious to everyone right now that the matter of its [Nagorno Karabakh’s] status has not been resolved, but we cannot discuss it right now, as any electrification of this field of discussion around its status leads to a very powerful charge,’ Medvedev said to the media.
Medvedev pointed out that the conflict sides have very different stances on the matter, ‘even within Armenia, discussions are underway. He said ‘it would be better to move the discussion of its status for the future.’
Medvedev also highly appreciated the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the works on settling the NK conflict who was ‘engaged in hours-long discussions with all participants of this conflict.’
Commenting on Turkey’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Medvedev noted that Ankara is a very important partner of Russia, is very close to Azerbaijan, and that ‘this factor cannot be ignored.’ Medvedev, however, does not consider the cooperation between Moscow and Ankara in Nagorno-Karabakh to be an element of long-term politics. ‘We were simply obliged to take the realities in our region into account. And the reality is that this issue must be discussed with the Turkish partners," Medvedev said.’
Photo: RFE/RL's Armenian service