Free ALL Armenian POWs and hostages held illegally in Azerbaijan

Free ALL Armenian POWs and hostages held illegally in Azerbaijan

28 January 2021
Petition to
UN Secretary-General António Guterres (UNITED NATIONS) and 10 others
Signatures: 42,424Next Goal: 50,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by

To: UN Secretary-General, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe Secretary General, Director of OSCE ODIHR, OSCE Secretary General, Joe Biden, President of USA, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger - President of ICRC, Emmanuel Macron - President of France, Rishi Sunak - Prime Minister of UK and NI, James Cleverly  Foreign Secretary of UK and NI, Charles Michel - President of the European Union, Josep Borrell - High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. 

We call upon the peaceful citizens of the world, who defend universal human rights and the principles of justice, to sign the present petition urging world leaders to:

demand the immediate and unconditional release of ALL Armenian POWs and captives held unlawfully in Azerbaijan

● urgently send international observers or organsiations to visit Armenian hostages in Baku and report on their health and detention conditions

● impose sanctions against Azerbaijan for torture, mistreatment, and holding Armenian civilians and POWs after the Ceasefire, thus breaking UN legislation on Human Rights, The Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War, and The European Convention on Human Rights

Since the trilateral Ceasefire of 9 November 2020 [1] by the Russian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian Heads of State, over 200 Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) have not been released. Moreover, Azerbaijani forces continue taking new military and civilian captives, in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia [2].By refusing to free the Armenian captives, the Azerbaijani regime grossly violates the III Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949.

 The Convention particularly states that “POWs cannot be prosecuted for taking part in hostilities,” and that “they must be released and repatriated without delay after the end of hostilities”. Aliyev's government also violates Article 8 of the trilateral Ceasefire Statement of November 9 concerning the return of POWs. Nevertheles, over 60 Armenian hostages were sentenced at sham trials in Baku courts under false accusations.

The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment, and the European Convention on Human Rights prohibit torture altogether. The latest Ad Hoc Report by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia of January 2021 [3] revealed numerous cases of brutal treatment of Armenian civilians and soldiers in captivity in Azerbaijan, which included:

●beating the POWs, causing mental trauma and physical injuries,

●humiliation and debasement of captives to induce false statements,

●physical torture of captives resulting in death

● beheading and dismembering of Armenian captives

At the beginning of April 2021, no less than 230 cases were reported to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) by Yegishe Kirakosyan, Armenia’s representative to the Court. Additionally, human rights lawyers Siranush Sahakyan and Artak Zeynalyan have filed over 95 individual cases on behalf of the captives’ families at the ECtHR. The Court has unequivocally and universally accepted these complaints and ordered interim measures to protect the lives of the Armenian captives whose lives are at immediate risk. The Azerbaijani authorities have failed to comply with the ECtHR ruling and have refused to provide accurate information on the condition and the number of Armenian POWs in captivity.

Over 50 Armenian POWs held in Azerbaijan, were reportedly murdered [4], according to human rights lawyers representing families of Armenian hostages. One of them was only 18-year-old Eric Mkhitaryan, missing since October 2020. In November, a video of Eric captured and abused by Azeri forces was released on social media. His dismembered body were returned at the beginning of April 2021. By concealing the exact number of Armenian captives, the Azerbaijani government retains them for political manipulation to achieve more concessions from Armenia.There are justified concerns that the true number of Armenian POWs illegally held or brutally murdered by Alyiev's regime is much much higher.

The families of Armenian hostages confirm that International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been not been able to fully report about the well-being and health and detention conditions of their relatives detained in Azerbaijan. No foreign monitor has been allowed to visit Armenian hostages and bring them the much needed support.

The inhumane treatment of POWs and captives is a gross violation of the international law by the Azerbaijani regime and overwhelming evidence of war crimes perpetrated by Aliyev’s regime, that must be condemned by international organisations [5].

In an announcement on 22 April 2021, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on Azerbaijan to release Armenian POWs and other captives 'without delay' [6].

President Aliyev openly supports and encourages ethnic hatred and glorifies violence towards Armenians through his public speeches and state-sponsored propaganda. One of the examples of this vile state-sponsored hatred towards ethnic Armenians was the opening of the 'trophy park' in Baku. Former US Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, called the park "racist, degrading, indeed, redolent of genocidal intent’. Aliyev’s irresponsible conduct jeopardises any prospect of peace in the wider region [7].

Failure to condemn the Azerbaijani government for violating the international law, has caused more killings and kidnappings of indigenous Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh as well as Armenia.

Human lives matter. Every day, every hour, every minute, and every second counts. Tomorrow will be too late. Act today to release ALL ARMENIAN POWs and CAPTIVES, victims of unlawful torture, barbaric mental and physical abuse [8].

British Armenian humanitarian group

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Twitter: BritArm










See also:

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Signatures: 42,424Next Goal: 50,000
Support now


  • UN Secretary-General António GuterresUNITED NATIONS
  • UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet
  • Secretary General Marija Pejčinović BurićCouncil of Europe
  • Secretary GeneralOSCE
  • ODIHR Director Matteo MecacciOSCE ODIHR