Ruben Rubinyan, member of ‘My Step’ faction of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Chairman of the NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, head of the Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, addressed the PACE plenary session.
“Thank you, Madame Chair. Dear Colleagues, have you ever been called dogs? Well, my fellow Armenians and I have. It was a couple of months ago, when the president of Azerbaijan, Mr. Aliyev said that they chased Armenians like dogs. Have you ever been called mentally ill? My fellow Armenians and I have.
It was around a week ago when the president of Azerbaijan, Mr. Aliyev publicly said that the Armenian society is sick mentally and that it needs doctors. Have you ever seen religious monuments of your people being destroyed almost on live TV.
I see it almost every month, as new reports come from the lands, which are now under Azeri control where Armenian churches are being destroyed. Have you ever seen a racist version of Madame Tussaud museum?
Well, now you can, because last week, again, the president of Azerbaijan opened a so called trophy park in Baku, where mannequins, degrading, dehumanizing, mannequins of Armenian soldiers depicted in chains, dying or wounded, depicted as ugly, stupid or evil are displayed. This is real life, and, dear colleagues, Azerbaijan has done something that no country in Europe has done during the last some 80 years.
They have institutionalized hatred towards Armenians. And in this situation, this atmosphere, despite of the fact that Armenia has returned all prisoners of war that it had, despite the international humanitarian law, despite the trilateral statement of November which ended the military hostilities, they refuse to repatriate Armenian prisoners of war and other captives. This is unacceptable.
Dear colleagues, we debate many issues in this hemicycle, many complex issues, many multilayered issues, many issues towards which there may be different points of view. But this issue is not one of them. This is a straightforward issue. This is a black and white issue. Armenian Prisoners of war and other captives have to be returned by Azerbaijan.
This is a must, this is an obligation, and this should happen. And I hope when this debate is over and all of you go back to your day to day lives, or go back to discuss other important but maybe less stressing issues, you will find some time to think about the hundreds of Armenian young guys who are kept as hostages in a country which hates them. Thank you."