A special online discussion on Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) being held in Azerbaijan was organized in the German Bundestag on Thursday, during which Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan presented a separate report.
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 ombudsman said in a statement on Facebook.
The defender highlighted the urgency of the return of Armenian prisoners of war – servicemen and civilians – from Azerbaijani captivity. 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 create tensions 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 statement said.
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 German lawmakers for the discussion.
“The ombudsman 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 Armenian Ambassador to Germany Ashot Smbatyan to Amnesty International in Germany,” the statement added.