Tuesday, 18 May 2021 10:34 GMT

Azerbaijan calls on CE commissioner to be impartial - Foreign Ministry (UPDATE)

(MENAFN - Trend News Agency) Details added: the first version posted on 13:45

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Apr. 27


Azerbaijan calls on the Council of Europe commissioner to be impartial, as required by her mandate, and to refrain from actions and statements that may damage the reputation of the Council of Europe, Trend reports on April 27 referring to the commentary of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry regarding the letter addressed to the president of Azerbaijan by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic.

"Given the interest of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in tracking the latest human rights situation in connection with the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in recent months, it should be stressed that the conflict lasted almost 30 years, caused enormous humanitarian consequences, suffering and the rights of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were violated,' the commentary says. 'However, all this suffering and violations went unnoticed by the current commissioner, as well as by her predecessors, under the pretext that 'this does not belong to the mandate of the commissioner'.'

'The liberation of the Azerbaijani lands revealed the terrifying scale of destruction in these territories during the years of their illegal occupation by Armenia,' the commentary says.

'As part of a targeted policy, hundreds of historical monuments, dozens of museums, mosques, and cultural heritage sites of Azerbaijan were destroyed, plundered, and vandalized,' the commentary says. 'There are many photo and video materials reflecting the shameful treatment of holy places when ancient mosques in the occupied territories were desecrated.'

'Moreover, during the 44-day second Nagorno-Karabakh war, Armenia committed a number of horrific war crimes by violating the international humanitarian law,' the commentary says.

'Ballistic missile attacks on densely populated residential areas of Ganja and Barda, as well as other cities of Azerbaijan, located far from the front line, resulted in the death of more than a hundred civilians,' the commentary says. 'All these horrible facts were unfortunately ignored by the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights. No one can argue that these issues, which directly affect the lives and rights of civilians, go beyond the mandate of the commissioner.'

'Amid the abovementioned situation, the commissioner began to show interest in political issues, apparently forgetting about the restrictions imposed by the aforementioned "mandate",' the commentary says. 'In fact, this is one of the signs of double standards and a selective approach that Azerbaijan is often subjected to by various structures of the Council of Europe.'

'Trying to portray the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the light of "interethnic enmity" or "violent relations between ethnic communities living in and around Nagorno-Karabakh" is a big mistake. The conflict was unleashed by Armenia on the basis of its groundless territorial claims against Azerbaijan and was accompanied by heinous crimes, including acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing, other crimes against humanity, as well as the most serious war crimes,' said the ministry.

'Moreover, we would like to remind the Commissioner that due to the policy of ethnic cleansing in Armenia, at present, apart from ethnic Armenians, there are no other "ethnic communities living in Nagorno-Karabakh and its environs," as mentioned in her letter. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in its resolution 1416 (2005), expressed concern about the "massive expulsion of the population and the creation of mono-ethnic territories, which is reminiscent of the terrible concept of ethnic cleansing,' the Azerbaijani MFA said.

'The "regret" of the commissioner over the opening of the War Trophy Park in Baku is equally unjustified. This park symbolizes the triumph of international law and justice over the long-term policy of aggression and ethnic cleansing. The perpetuation of victory in the war for freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity is a practice widely used by many countries, including in the Council of Europe region. The park, like its counterparts elsewhere in the world, will serve as a powerful reminder that racism, discrimination and intolerance have no chance of success. This is a place to educate present and future generations about the dangers of a policy of aggression and intolerance, a suitable place to search for the truth,' the commentary reads.

"Inhuman scenes" or "disturbing and degrading images" must be sought elsewhere in the Council of Europe, where nations celebrate their colonial past and show evidence of atrocious crimes against colonized peoples.

'Five months after the end of the Second Karabakh War, there is still an alarming level of hatred and Azerbaijanophobia in Armenian society. It is alarming that anyone who dares to talk about reconciliation and peaceful coexistence with Azerbaijan is perceived as a "traitor" and is called "Azeri" or "Turk" in an offensive manner. Moreover, irresponsible and dangerous ideas of revanchism and intolerance are spreading at the state level, and this opinion, unfortunately, is shared by the entire political spectrum in Armenia,' the foreign ministry said.

'However, all of these events went unnoticed by the Commissioner, including the fact that the Armenian authorities did not take any punishment against certain Armenian officials for their racist approach to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis. The Azerbaijani public is not aware of any steps taken by the Council of Europe Commissioner in relation to such flagrant manifestations of intolerance, racism and discrimination on the part of Armenian officials,' the commentary of the Azerbaijani MFA said.

'The letter of April 20, 2021 casts doubt on the independence and impartiality of the Commissioner's work and may negatively affect the relationship between the Commissioner's office and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the letter clearly contradicts the declared noble goal of "promoting peace and reconciliation." On the contrary, such an attitude is encouraging for revanchist circles, which threaten the fragile process of establishing good-neighborly relations in the region,' said the MFA.

'Azerbaijan calls on the Commissioner of the Council of Europe to be impartial, as required by his mandate, and refrain from actions and statements that may harm the reputation of the Council of Europe,' said the MFA.


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