By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) Sabina Aliyeva has said Armenia’s holding illegal elections in occupied Nagorno-Karbakh region amidst COVID-19 crisis as well as the so-called "inauguration" in Shusha manifests Yerevan’s policy of aggression and separatism.
In the statement issued on 21 May, the Ombudsman stressed that the so-called "elections" run against the norms and principles of international law, have no legal force and have been resolutely and unequivocally rejected by the international community.
The ombudsman urged the international organizations, such as the UN, EUl, OSCE, International Peace Bureau to take urgent measures towards the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the UN-recognized territories of Azerbaijan, to give legal assessment to the crimes committed by Armenia in Azerbaijan, to restore the fundamental rights and freedoms of Azerbaijanis violated as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"We are deeply concerned about the violations of the ceasefire by the Armenian armed forces, which are constantly firing on the positions of Azerbaijan in the nameless heights of the republic in different directions of the front, as well as civilian settlements", the statement reads.
Furthermore, the statement underlined the fact that ignoring the appeals of the UN, the World Health Organization and other international organizations in connection with the pandemic, the Armenian government continues to stage provocative actions in the region against the background of its aggressive policy.
"Even during the pandemic, the Armenian army continues to violate the ceasefire, which further aggravates the living conditions of people living in the conflict zone," added the ombudsman.
The Azerbaijani ombudsman also touched upon UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call for a global ceasefire. "The Secretary-General's statement said that IDPs and others who have been victims of violent conflict are becoming more vulnerable", she said.
"Undoubtedly, Armenia's repeated violations of the ceasefire during the international security issue and pandemic-a global problem, are a clear indication of disrespect and disregard for the known statement of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, along with disregard for international law and the principles of humanism", the ombudsman noted.
Aliyeva also referred to a special statement of Cecilia Jimenez-Damari, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, on COVID-19, published on the official website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 1 April 2020, which stressed that during the pandemic, there is a risk that refugees may face restrictions in terms of medical examinations, water, sanitation, food and adequate living conditions, and discrimination.
"Given this point, it should be noted that living conditions in the settlements close to the conflict zone have worsened due to the pandemic. Thus, the provision of clean water to people living in these areas, and therefore their access to hygiene and sanitation services, is at risk", she noted.
The ombudsman also recalled the resolution 2085 adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2016, in which it is emphasized that poor condition of Sarsang Reservoir located in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, providing clean water to the population living in the occupied territories and adjacent areas, will endanger human life and lead to serious disasters.
"Unfortunately, the poor condition of the Sarsang Reservoir against the background of the fact of occupation has put the lives and health of Azerbaijanis in those areas at greater risk during the pandemic", she added.
The ombudsman reminded that Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan are still under occupation as a result of the Armenian government's policy of aggression, ignoring UN Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 and the requirements of international law in general. "As a result of Armenia's policy of ethnic cleansing and aggression, one million of our compatriots have become refugees and internally displaced persons, and their fundamental rights have been grossly violated. As a result of the aggression, more than 20,000 innocent people, including children, women and the elderly, were brutally killed and thousands were taken hostage and tortured."
The ombudsman also noted that in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the relevant UN Security Council resolutions defined the situation as "military occupation", and the European Court of Human Rights, in its decision on the case of "Chiragov and others v. Armenia", established that Armenia carried out an effective control over the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
"At the same time, the resolutions, decisions and recommendations adopted by the European Union and the Council of Europe established the facts of the occupation of Azerbaijani lands and the control of separatist forces in those territories", the statement said.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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