Thursday, October 21, 2021

US Congressmen introduce resolution urging Azerbaijan to immediately release all Armenian POWs


The bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), David G. Valadao (R-CA), and Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced a resolution calling on Azerbaijan to immediately release all prisoners of war (POWs) and civilians currently detained in the aftermath of the 2020 war in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh). The resolution was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 31 Members, Armenpress reports citing Congressman Adam Schiff’s website.

The resolution states that “under the Geneva Conventions and the November 9, 2020 tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan, all parties have an obligation to release prisoners. Armenia has fulfilled this obligation, while the Government of Azerbaijan continues to misrepresent the status of these POWs in an attempt to justify their continued captivity”.

The final part of the Resolution reads as follows:

“The House of Representatives—

-calls upon Azerbaijan to immediately return 3 all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians;

-urges the Secretary of State to engage at all levels with Azerbaijani authorities, including through the OSCE Minsk Group process, to make clear the importance of adhering to their obligations, under the November 9 statement and international law, to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians”.

“It is unacceptable that more than 100 days after the end of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, hundreds of Armenian service members and civilians remain in Azerbaijani custody, where little is known of their condition, treatment, or well-being,” said Rep. Schiff. “Azerbaijan has an obligation to release these prisoners immediately – the longer the delay, the more it demonstrates their disregard for human rights and international law. Azerbaijan is already guilty of grave atrocities committed during the recent war, and this compounds the problem. The United States must use all diplomatic means to secure the immediate release of these detained POWs and civilians, and to impose consequences on Azerbaijan for their continued violations of human rights”.

“The continued imprisonment of Armenian prisoners of war months after the termination of hostilities is categorically unacceptable. This is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention and international law. Azerbaijan should cease its human rights’ violations and immediately release the captive soldiers”, said Rep. Bilirakis.

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