Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan (Ireland, UEL), PACE rapporteur for the Humanitarian consequences of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, has set out a series of recommendations to both countries at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, to address the humanitarian consequences and move towards a process of peace and reconciliation.
Addressing the Assembly Senator Gavan who visited both countries said:
“I am concerned about the many allegations of crimes, war crimes and other wrongful acts, during the six-week war. Both countries must fully investigate the allegations and bring to justice anyone, including at command level, found to be responsible, and to co-operate fully with the European Court of Human Rights on the complaints lodged against them.
“Unless there is accountability and some form of truth and reconciliation, these allegations will poison relations between the two countries for generations, and the consequences of the conflict will linger.
“While welcoming the recent release by Azerbaijan of 15 Armenians on 12 June 2021 and a further release of 15 persons on 3 July 2021, I am calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release all remaining captives and return them to Armenia without further delay.
“I also have deep concern about the fate of around 30 Armenians, seen, filmed or photographed in captivity with no indication of their current whereabouts.
“I am alarmed at allegations that these persons have been subjected to enforced disappearances and possibly killed.
“Since the November cease-fire, 159 Azerbaijanis and 5 Armenians have been killed or injured by mines, and Armenia must release, without delay, all mine maps in its possession.
“In light of various border incidents since May 2021, I urge both sides to de-escalate, and to negotiate a border demarcation process.
“With regard to displaced persons, I am calling on the international community to continue to support Armenia and Azerbaijan, and I encourage both countries to make good use of Council of Europe expertise.
“I recommend both countries take steps to tackle hate speech as well as hate crimes, including by introducing appropriate legislation with Council of Europe assistance.”
Senator Gavan’s report was adopted with a four/fifths majority by the Parliamentary Assembly.