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German parliament discussion: Armenian Ombudsman highlights urgency of repatriating PoWs from Azeri custody

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EDITOR'S CHOICE

 A special online discussion on Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijani custody was organized in the German Bundestag during which the Armenian Human Rights Defender presented a separate report, the ombudsman’s office said in a news release. The discussion took place under the chairmanship of Michael Brand, 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 deputies of the German Parliament for the discussion. The Human Rights Defender considers the assistance of the Armenian Embassy in Germany in organizing this discussion to be of utmost importance. It should be noted that the evidence on the Azerbaijani atrocities and torture collected by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia was passed on by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Federal Republic of Germany Ashot Smbatyan to Amnesty International in Germany.

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