FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(OTTAWA – April 21, 2021) – On Tuesday April 20, the spring plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held an “urgent business” debate on the status of Armenian prisoners of war, again illegally detained by Azerbaijan, following the trilateral ceasefire announcement signed on November 9, 2020, which ended the war against Artsakh.
At the end of the debate, the Bloc Québécois spokesperson for foreign affairs, MP Stéphane Bergeron (Montarville), submitted the following statement to the assembly, calling for the immediate return of the Armenian prisoners of war.
It is an important debate.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is about thirty years old and mainly concerns the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in Azeri territory.
The war, the expulsion and the migration of civilian populations will have had important consequences.
At the height of recent hostilities, half of the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, 90% of them women and children, were reportedly displaced.
Some 4,500 Armenians and Azeris are still reported missing.
Allegations have circulated about war crimes and even crimes against humanity. There is talk of attacks on civilian targets, cruel and degrading treatment or torture inflicted on prisoners of war, if not on civilians. There is even talk of the desecration of corpses.
And, while the ceasefire agreement provided for an unconditional exchange of prisoners, Azerbaijan decided to raise the stakes by holding Armenian prisoners hostage.
It is inadmissible to keep them longer in arbitrary detention accompanied by condemnable abuses.
And that’s without counting the vandalism and depradation of Armenian cultural and religious gems in Nagorno-Karabakh, some of which have been identified for World Heritage.
Azerbaijan seems incapable of having the modest victory, and magnanimous. She should remember that, without Turkey’s undue support, the outcome of these new hostilities could have been very different …
We learned that the Turkish drones that had a devastating effect on the battlefield were fitted with Canadian sensor systems, which were never intended for Azerbaijan, as no export license was issued for this. country.
Turkey and Canada are members of NATO. It is therefore understandable that Turkey is using its membership in this defensive military alliance to facilitate its supply of sophisticated equipment allowing it to develop high-performance weapons that it uses offensively in localized conflicts allowing it to increase its geostrategic influence.
Canada first suspended export permits for these aircraft to Turkey and has just canceled them, in addition to suspending export licenses for all military equipment and technology to this country.
The bellicose attitude of Azerbaijan, supported by its Turkish ally, is not likely to lay the foundations for lasting peace in the region.
We must bring the parties to better arrangements to ensure that the smoldering embers do not eventually cause a new fire … “
The Armenian National Committee of Canada congratulates Mr. Bergeron for his principled position on this urgent matter and expresses its gratitude for his leadership and unwavering support.
The CNAC is the largest and most influential of the popular Armenian-Canadian human rights organizations. Working in collaboration with a vast network of offices, chapters and supporters across Canada, and with several affiliated organizations around the world, the NACC advocates the concerns of the Armenian-Canadian community on a wide range of issues and works towards it. elimination of human rights violations across Canada and the world.
Photo: La Relève
Contact: Sevag Belian
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