Azerbaijan's Ombudsman issues statement regarding illegal “elections” and so-called “oath taking” show in Nagorno Garabagh

# 21 May 2020 15:17 (UTC +04:00)

The Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of the Azerbaijan Republic has issued a statement in protest against the holding of illegal “elections” in Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno Garabagh region and regular violation of ceasefire regime by Armenia in the period of the pandemic, APA reports.

The statement reads:

"We are deeply concerned about the violations of the ceasefire by the Armenian armed forces, which are constantly firing on the positions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the nameless heights of the State in different directions of the front, as well as civilian objects.

Disregarding the statements made by the United Nations, World Health Organization and other international organizations concerning pandemic, the Government of Armenia continues its provocations in the light of its policy of occupation and aggression creating even more critical situation in the whole region. Foremost, the violation of ceasefire by the Armenian armed forces even amid pandemic further aggravates the living conditions of civilians in the conflict zone.

Some time ago, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appealed for an immediate global ceasefire, underlining the most important questions in this context. The Statement of the Secretary-General said “IDPs and others who have been victims of violent conflict are becoming more vulnerable. Today, I am calling for an immediate ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives. Turning to the warring parties, I say: “Pull back from hostilities. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the guns, stop the artillery, end the airstrikes.” Undoubtedly, Armenia's repeated violations of the ceasefire in the context of international security and pandemic, which is a global problem, is a clear evidence of disrespect and disregard for the known Statement of UN Secretary General, along with disregard for international law and the principles of humanism.

In the special Statement on COVID-19 made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damari, released on the official website of the OHCHR on 1 April, 2020, it was highlighted that “Internally displaced persons are at heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to limited access to healthcare, water, sanitation, food and adequate housing, and often face discrimination”. Considering this fact, it should be noted that at present, the life conditions close to the conflict zone has been more worsened due to pandemic. Thus, the access of persons, living in those areas to clean water, and therefore, to hygiene and sanitation services is at high risk. The Resolution 2085 (2016) of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, noted that the state of the Sarsang reservoir, located in the occupied area, and which provides drinking water to the population living in the occupied region and other adjacent areas, poses a danger to the human life and could result in a major disaster. Unfortunately, it should be noted that in the context of occupation, the deteriorated state of the Sarsang reservoir has put the lives and health of our compatriots living in those areas at a greater risk even during pandemic.

It is important to reiterate that as the result of continuation of the occupation policy by the Government of Armenia disregarding for the four UN Security Council’s Resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) on Nagorno-Karabakh and general principles of international law, the Nagorno-Karabakh and other seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan are still under the occupation. As a consequence of the ethnic cleansing and occupation policy of Armenia, one million of our compatriots became refugees and IDPs and their all fundamental rights have been severely violated.

Furthermore, over 20 thousand of innocent civilians, including children, women and the elderly have been murdered with special cruelty, as well as thousands of people have been held captives and subjected to torture. We should note that in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh armed conflict, the UN Security Council’s relevant Resolutions defined this situation as a “military occupation”, as well as the European Court of Human Rights in its judgement in relation to the case “Chiragov and others v. Armenia” held that the occupied territories are under the effective control of the Republic of Armenia. At the same time, the facts of occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and being of those territories under the effective control of separatists have been acknowledged in the relevant resolutions, decisions and recommendations made by the European Union and Council of Europe.      

In addition, at the time when the world is struggling with the COVID-19 infection, the illegal "elections" and the so-called "inauguration ceremony" organized by Armenia in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is another clear example of this State’s aggression policy and destructive position for support of separatism and a gross violation of international law. The so-called “elections” is completely contradicted to the norms of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to international legal norms and principles, as well as has no legal basis and was resolutely and unanimously rejected by the international community.

Hereby, I urge the world community, in particular, outstanding international organizations to make relevant efforts, including taking necessary and immediate measures for liberating the occupied territories, recognized by UN, giving proper legal assessment of the criminal actions committed by Armenia in the territories of Azerbaijan, preventing violation of the international legal norms, as well as for restoring the fundamental rights and freedoms of our compatriots, violated as the result of the Nagorno-Karabakh armed conflict."