Azerbaijan Reinforcing Positions in Gegharkunik, Warns Human Rights Defender

By Asbarez | Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Since breaching Armenia’s sovereign borders in May, Azerbaijani forces have been reinforcing their positions, building large shelters and amassing massive supplies of firewood in Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province, warned Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan on Monday.

Tatoyan said that in the last five months, Azerbaijani forces have also paved roads leading up to their position and have become more and more active.

“Furthermore, they [Azerbaijani forces] continue to build new roads and increase the number of troops and armaments in their positions. They are conducting re-enforcements of positions and active engineering works all the time,” Tatoyan said.

He emphasized that the Azerbaijani troops are unlawfully located on lands owned by Armenian citizens. This information has been confirmed by the Human Rights Defender’s fact-finding mission with validated data from several sources, he said.

“These are the positions from where Azerbaijani forces are terrorizing the civilian population of Armenia, regularly shooting at civilian homes of the villages of Verin Shorzha, Sotk and Kut, among others, in the Gegharkunik province, committing mass arson of pastures owned by farmers. The servicemen of these positions have stolen livestock,” Tatoyan said.

On Saturday at 11 p.m. (local time) Azerbaijani armed forces opened targeted fire at the Yeraskh community of the Armenia’s Ararat region, Tatoyan’s office reported a day after recording a large fire set at about 8,000 stacks of hay

Immediately after the shooting, a 3,000 to 4,000 stacks of grass belonging to a resident of Yeraskh community was set on fire. Due to the timely arrival of the firefighters, the fire was isolated so that it would not spread to nearby houses.

“These are terrorist acts. They unruliness is a direct result of the policy of hostility and fascism of the Azerbaijani authorities,” Tatoyan said. “It is obvious that Azerbaijani soldiers know that they are causing damage to villagers, destroying their property, violating their right to life and security.”

Tatoyan stressed that the presence of the Azerbaijani military near Armenian villages—not to mention on Armenia’s sovereign territory—is explicitly unlawful and is by itself a violation of the villagers’ right to life and safely.

Tatoyan on Monday once again called for the immediate establishment of a de-militarized security zone around the Armenian borders, and an immediate Azerbaijani withdrawal from the vicinity of Armenian villages and from the roads linking Armenian towns. This recommendation has been included in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe September 27 Resolution.