Read daily news summary for January 28 here.
72 civilians killed by Azerbaijani forces since Nagorno Karabakh war – Ombudsman of Artsakh
The Human Rights Defender’s office of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) released an updated interim report on the cases of killing of civilians by the Azerbaijani armed forces from the beginning of the war on September 27 to January 28, 2021. The report also presents the circumstances of gross, deliberate, and systematic violations of the right to life and other rights of the civilian population of Artsakh.
72 civilian causalities were recorded: 41 of them were killed as a result of targeted strikes, 31 - in captivity. The Human Rights Ombudsman also recorded the cases of 163 civilian injuries, most of which caused by strikes that resulted in the deaths of others.
The report presents only the confirmed cases on indisputable grounds. The Ombudsman also received incomplete information on other alleged cases, which have not yet been fully verified.
At the time of updating the report, the Ombudsman's office still has information on missing civilians some of whom most probably are in captivity, and others are allegedly killed by the Azerbaijani armed forces proved by the regular cases of finding the bodies of civilians in the communities of Artsakh under the control of Azerbaijan.
France expressed its clear and unbiased position from Nagorno Karabakh war outset – Armenian FM
‘As we all remember, recently, in our most difficult times, the delegations from France have been visiting [Armenia] continuously, which proves once again that Armenia and France maintain privileged relations. It was once again reaffirmed that France supports the interests of Armenia, Artsakh, and the Armenian people,’ Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan summarized his meeting with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Secretary of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
The Armenian FM highlighted the importance of Lemoyne's visit aimed at the implementation of the agreements, reached upon by French President Emanuel Macron and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan.
In Ayvazyan’s words, France expressed its clear and unbiased position from the very first day of the war through the addressed statements made by President Macron and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, exposing the country that unleashed the aggression against Artsakh. According to Ayvazyan, France’s position also pointed out the danger of Turkey’s involvement [in the Nagorno Karabakh war] through deploying armed terrorists and mercenaries in the region which, in turn, threatens international peace and stability.
The sides also discussed the issue of the immediate release of the PoWs captured by Azerbaijan expressing hope that Azerbaijan will soon give up its ‘hostage-taking policy’ adding that otherwise, it will cause further issues for Baku.
Speaking about 1400 Armenian cultural and religious monuments passed under the Azerbaijani control, the Minister said that those monuments are in danger. He reminded of the attempts of destruction, falsification, and appropriation of the Armenian heritage by Azerbaijan highlighting France’s active role in addressing the issue within UNESCO and informing that France is foreseeing sending a fact-finding mission to Nagorno Karabakh.
Other news from Armenia
- Armenian Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan visited Armenian southeastern Syunik province where he met with residents of Shurnukh and Vorotan villages. The residents were informed that new houses will be built for those who lost their homes as a consequence of border demarcations and delimitations with Azerbaijan. The families will also receive financial assistance for at least six months until the houses are built.
After the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war, the border demarcations left residents of different communities in Syunik province homeless and dangerously exposed to the Azerbaijani forces. The residents organized protests and did not allow PM Nikol Pashinyan to enter Syunik, blaming him for border demarcations and mishandling the war, and demanding him to resign. Armenian Human Rights Defender released a statement disclosing serious human rights violations of the Armenian residents in the course of border demarcations.
- ‘The EU welcomes the release of 5 Armenian servicemen captured by Azerbaijan in November and calls for the immediate release of the 57 remaining in custody,’ Lead spokesperson for the external affairs of the EU Peter Stano said on Twitter. He added that this would contribute to building confidence between both countries which is important for lasting peace in the region.
Five Armenian prisoners of war have been returned to Armenia from Azerbaijan by the mediation of Moscow on January 28. The PoWs were among the 62 Armenian servicemen captured by Azerbaijan after the November 9 trilateral truce statement which ended the war.
- According to the Armenian Investigative Committee, during a preliminarily announced rally at Yerevan’s main square on 28 January a group of people, attempted to seize the Government building upon prior consent. A criminal case has been initiated and five people have been arrested. The protesters demanding Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation walked to the Prosecutor’s office on Thursday, urging the Prosecutor General to meet them in order to submit a request for PM Pashinyan’s arrest. Following the Prosecutor’s silence, the protesters moved to the Government building where a group of protesters attempted to enter the building causing clashes between the police and the citizens.