Only way to protect civilians is Azeri withdrawal near villages: Armenia and Artsakh ombudsmen present facts of crimes
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 17, ARMENPRESS. Human Rights Defender of Armenia Arman Tatoyan and Human Rights Defender of Artsakh Gegham Stepanyan were on a fact-finding mission from February 14 to 16 regarding human rights in the communities of Taghavard, Karmir Shuka, Aghavno, Khramot and elsewhere in the Republic of Artsakh.
The Human Rights Defender’s Office said in a press release that shootings from Azerbaijan happen nearly every day in Taghavard and Karmir Shuka.
“Just few days ago, on February 11, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire in the direction of residential civilian homes. Walls and roofs of houses were damaged. Women and children were inside the homes at the time of the shooting. A window was hit by the bullets, and at that time a toddler was asleep in the room. The Azerbaijani military servicemen are deployed directly in front of these residential houses, only a few hundred meters away, and people are under their full observation,” the Human Rights Defender’s Office said, adding that the Azerbaijani troops are deployed on the lands owned by the residents: pastures and grasslands.
Moreover, the Azerbaijani soldiers have direct vantage point on the Taghavard public school.
“Separate meetings and discussions with teachers and students revealed that targeted shootings happen also in the direction of the school. Moreover, residents said that in Taghavard and Karmir Shuka the Azerbaijani servicemen are releasing special lights from their positions or vehicles onto residential houses, including inside the homes in order to terrorize the residents. This is frequently done especially at nights or evenings. Moreover, during our time in Artsakh we were directly convinced in the Azerbaijani criminal acts. Particularly, on February 15, around 15:30, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired targeted shots at farmers who were engaged in agriculture in Khramort village on Askeran region, which resulted in a tractor’s tire being damaged. Yesterday, on February 16, between 10:00 – 11:00, when residents were working in the vineyards of Khramort village, they were approached by armed servicemen of Azerbaijan and were forced to leave the field. Moreover, most of the residents who were working were women. In all communities, residents noted that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fire targeted shots whenever they attempt to approach agricultural lands which are even a few hundred meters away. These acts cause the most serious social problems for people. They are deprived of the opportunity to earn income for their families. It is obvious that associated with the seasonal period, not working would lead to serious problems for people. In Aghavno community, people are facing serious problems of drinking and irrigation water supply: Nearly all residents told us how they witnessed Azerbaijani armed servicemen slaughtering cattle and then throwing the remains into the water used by residents of the village. This has caused mass poisoning from the water among the residents of the village: women and children and elderly people were poisoned. Several villages in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia are also deprived of water supply because of the Azerbaijani incursions, the water security in several communities of Syunik province is under real danger.
It is obvious that the Azerbaijani authorities are engaged in a criminal policy of terrorizing peaceful residents and creating an atmosphere of despair, which is of coordinated and targeted nature.
In all places where Azerbaijani armed servicemen are deployed the security of people is disrupted, life is under real danger.
The Azerbaijani servicemen who have appeared in the direct vicinity of villages in Armenia and Artsakh are doing everything to make the life of peaceful population impossible and that life doesn’t restore after the war: they shoot at villages, obstruct farmers from doing agricultural work, steal domesticated animals etc. All facts prove that the criminal actions of Azerbaijani armed servicemen against the peaceful population in both Armenia and in Artsakh are same in nature, with aggressive manifestations in Artsakh.
It is obvious for us that the foundation of this all is the continuous policy of Armenophobia and propaganda of hate of the Azerbaijani authorities against Armenia and Artsakh.
As long as the Azerbaijani authorities are engaged in this policy (and this is the source of their political life), the terroristic criminal actions committed by their armed servicemen won’t stop, therefore the only way to protect the peaceful population is that these servicemen must not be stationed in the vicinity or nearby Armenian villages and roads, in order for peaceful residents to exercise their rights,” Tatoyan and Stepanyan said in a joint statement.