Ombudsman of Armenia: It is currently impossible to carry out border demarcation with Azerbaijan
Ombudsman on the demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border
In his opinion, this may cause an even greater aggravation of the situation from the point of view of violation of the rights of residents of border areas.
Meanwhile, according to the human rights defender, some Armenian officials make statements that contradict the interests of Armenia and the rights of its inhabitants, and, by doing that, they actually help the Azerbaijani side.
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“Demarcation of the border is impossible”
Arman Tatoyan insists that the delimitation and demarcation of borders at this stage can lead to an even greater aggravation of the situation as it may result in the violation of the rights of residents of near border regions.
“Their rights must be restored. These processes should be carried out in parallel with the withdrawal of Azerbaijani servicemen from the territory of Armenia”, the ombudsman said.
Arman Tatoyan stressed that the demarcation of the border is impossible as long as the Azerbaijani soldiers are illegally stationed in the territory of Armenia.
Starting from May 12, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the state border of Armenia and advanced several kilometers inland, and in two directions at once – in the Syunik and Gegharkunik regions. The head of state Nikol Pashinyan said that Baku went for a provocation, but the armed forces of Armenia are ready to forcefully push the enemy back to their original positions. However, as of July 13, the Azerbaijani military still did not leave the territory of Armenia, although they retreated in some areas.
According to the human rights defender, the country’s authorities discuss processes related to state borders within the framework and from the point of view of political and military components, while completely ignoring the issues of protecting human rights.
Tatoyan believes that the state has limited itself by choosing the political and military components as a priority, in connection with which a dangerous tendency is emerging when human rights and security contradict each other:
“In fact, human rights and security complement each other, and this is an important thesis. In addition, it is important to take into account that if the issue is considered in the context of the protection of human rights, the state expands its capabilities”.
It is beneficial for the Azerbaijani side to discuss border issues, guided only by the military-political component, without taking into account human rights, the ombudsman said. Meanwhile, the Armenian side has an extensive database in which facts of violations in this area are collected, Tatoyan said:
“Armenia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council. We must take steps so that the situation on the Armenian border is brought up for discussion in this structure, so that special rapporteurs will be appointed there, who will familiarize themselves with the situation on the spot and prepare relevant documents ”.
Complaints to local leaders
“There are officials who, with their statements, present ‘gifts’ to the Azerbaijani authorities”, said Arman Tatoyan, citing the case in Gegharkunik region as an example.
On July 5, there was an exchange of fire between the servicemen, as a result of which one Armenian serviceman was wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Armenia, according to the Ombudsman, issued a statement confirming this fact. The office of the human rights defender collected all the data, as a result of which it turned out that the shooting was exactly on the section of the border where the Azerbaijani military entered:
“Research has shown that there were shots that could be heard even in the pastures, and the villagers complained about the situation. However, one of the local publications purposefully asked the head of the administration, Verin Shorzha, whether the Azerbaijanis interfere with the ordinary life of the village, to which the head of the administration replied no.
How can you say something like that […]. The Azerbaijani military have settled down on our pastures, which is why local residents cannot graze livestock and use their barns, and the head of the administration says the opposite”.
If such a statement is made at the level of the head of the rural community, who is considered the most informed, then the ombudsman can no longer represent the interests of citizens in the international court, Tatoyan said.
The Human Rights Defender called for the establishment of joint work of government agencies and the ombudsman’s office in this area:
“Officials come and go, but the state and the rights of citizens remain.”