On July 30, Human Rights Defender of Armenia Arman Tatoyan presented the facts of violations of the rights of the border residents of Armenia by the Azerbaijani armed forces to the international institutions, diplomatic missions and civil society representatives operating in Armenia.
The event was attended by heads of international organizations accredited in Armenia (US, Russia, France, Great Britain, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Japan, etc.) accredited, including the Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Andrea Viktorin, UN Resident Coordinator Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan Maxime Longangue.
“The discussion was valuable in that human rights activists, non-governmental organizations, and independent experts participated and made important observations on the protection of the rights of border residents and the use of international mechanisms (UN Security Council, Council of Europe, etc.) for that goal.
The meeting was also attended by the representative of the Republic of Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights Yeghishe Kirakosyan, the First Deputy Commander of the Border Troops of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia Arman Gasparyan, representatives of the Defense and Foreign Ministries.
In his opening remarks, Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan stressed that civil society organizations and human rights activists have a key role in effectively resolving issues related to the rights of border residents.
During the meeting, Tatoyan presented facts substantiating the presence of Azerbaijani armed forces near the villages of Gegharkunik, Syunik provinces and on the roads linking the communities of Syunik, as well as the fact that their actions violate the internationally guaranteed rights of the Armenian people, including rights to life, property and other vital rights.
Arman Tatoyan also presented the results of the regular fact-finding works.
''Due to the illegal acts of Azerbaijan, apart from security problems, serious social problems have emerged. Due to the criminal acts of the Azerbaijani armed forces, the bordering rural residents are deprived of pastures and arable lands,” Tatoyan said.
In particular, he noted that the Azerbaijani shootings are prevented due to the preventive firing of Armenia’s Armed Forces, which aim to protect people's lives and health. Therefore, the Defender highlighted the service of Armenia’s Armed Forces and NSS Border Troops, which is aimed at protecting the border residents, in general, Armenia’s population.
In addition to security, serious social problems have been created for the people due to the illegal actions of Azerbaijan. Due to the real crimes of the Azerbaijani armed forces, the villagers were deprived of pastures, hayfields and arable lands.
For example, in the village of Kut, the Azerbaijani armed forces are physically present on at least 500 hectares of pasture, 500 hectares of hay, and 20 hectares of arable land. In Norabak village, they have at least 1,000 hectares of pasture, 200 hectares of grassland, 25 hectares of arable land, and in Vardenis-Verin Shorzha section 1,200 hectares of pasture, 220 hectares of grassland, 250 hectares of arable land.
Residents of Jaghatsadzor, Geghamabak, Norabak villages were deprived of drinking and irrigation water. The point is that the Azerbaijani armed forces are present in the areas of water basins, from which drinking and irrigation water is formed.
The fact-finding works confirm that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces temporarily obstruct the agricultural activities of the border residents (for example, in Kut, Aravus, Tegh, Khnatsakh communities).
The Azerbaijani authorities are directly responsible for these damages inflicted on our border residents by acts prohibited by international law, by the killing of servicemen protecting civilians’ right to life, by damaging their health.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan, Armenia's representative to the European Court of Human Rights, noted that ensuring the protection of the rights of border residents is crucial, as well as the fact that they give priority to human rights issues in the border demarcation process, including raising them within international jurisdiction.