The issue of the return of Armenian captives, who are illegally held in Azerbaijan, has been raised last year at different international platforms, various international organizations made statements calling for the release of the captives, Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan said during the joint session of parliamentary standing committees, while presenting the ministry’s 2021 activities.
“The works on the release of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians illegally held in Azerbaijan, presenting the issue to high-ranking international officials, heads of state, advisors, human rights organizations and experts continued, with the use of respective procedures of the UN, the CoE, and the OSCE. The issue of the return of captives has been raised during the meetings held within the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship, it was touched upon in the statements of the Co-Chairs, including in the December 7 statement made on behalf of the co-chair countries”, FM Mirzoyan said.
Documents over the issue of captives have been circulated in international organizations in New York, Geneva, Strasbourg, Vienna and Brussels. The FM assures that Armenia’s permanent representatives abroad are always raising this issue during all meetings and events. As a result the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearance made a statement titled “Nagorno-Karabakh: captives must be released”.
The issue of Armenian captives was also raised by a number of foreign officials, including the President of the European Commission, the Speaker of the EU External Action Service and over 100 MEPs. The PACE Monitoring Committee released a statement, urging Azerbaijan to return them to homeland.
FM Mirzoyan said that Human Rights Watch has published a report on the result of the visit to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh which also makes a reference to the torture of Armenian captives, calling it a war crime.
Freedom House also touched upon the issue of the return of Armenian captives.
On May 20, the European Parliament adopted a resolution with 607 of the votes calling for the immediate release and return of Armenian captives.