Letter of Azerbaijan's permanent representative to Secretary General spread as UN document (UPDATE)

Politics Materials 24 January 2023 13:50 (UTC +04:00)

Details added: first version posted on 09:46

BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 24. The letter addressed by the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the UN Yashar Aliyev to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has been spread as a document of the General Assembly and the Security Council, Trend reports.

The letter reflected the latest information about the efforts of Azerbaijan to determine the fate of several thousand of its citizens who went missing during the Armenian aggression in the early 1990s [First Karabakh War].

According to the letter, as a result of Armenia's aggression, 3,890 Azerbaijani citizens, including 719 civilians (326 elderly people, 267 women, and 71 children), have gone missing. It was revealed that 872 people (605 military servicemen and 267 civilians, including 112 old people, 29 children, and 98 women) were taken, prisoner or hostage.

“Although it’s known that some of them were alive the last time, nothing is known about their subsequent fate. In addition, there are dozens of facts of the killing of Azerbaijani prisoners of war in Armenian captivity after visiting them by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the letter noted.

"At the end of 2020, evidence of a gross and systematic violation of international law by Armenia was found in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan. From February 2021 to November 2022, the remains of nearly 118 people were found in mass graves there. The remains testify to a premeditated murder of the civilian population of Azerbaijan and other persons protected by international humanitarian law,” the letter reminded.

“A mass grave found in a mountain cave near Bashlibel village in the Kalbajar district was evidence that the Armenian armed forces opened fire on the village residents who took refuge in the cave, killing at least 12 people, including two children and five old people. The remains of children and women were also found in the mass grave in Farrukh village of the Khojaly district,” the letter said.

“Another evidence of cruelty is the mass grave in Edilli village of the Khojavand district, where the remains of dozens of Azerbaijanis were found, their hands and feet were tied,” the letter further noted. “Mass graves were also found in other liberated districts of Azerbaijan. Armenia refused to provide any information about the persons who went missing during the almost 30-year occupation and to conduct an investigation to ascertain their further fate.”

“In 2022 alone, Armenia handed over to Azerbaijan 67 bags with mixed remains of 106 people. The fact that Armenia has been keeping these remains for thirty years, contrary to all moral principles, violating international humanitarian law, openly ignoring the right of people to know about the fate of their loved ones, cannot but cause deep indignation,” the letter said.

The diplomat also stressed that Armenia still evades providing information on mass graves in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.

According to him, Azerbaijan's search operations are also hampered by a serious mine threat due to Armenia's refusal to provide complete and accurate maps of hundreds of thousands of mines laid in the territory during the occupation.

Aliyev reminded that the General Assembly and the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions regarding the missing, reaffirming the obligations of states to prevent violence and report on the fate of missing persons under international humanitarian law.

"These commitments should be urgent measures to protect the rights of victims and their families," he said.

In conclusion, the Azerbaijani representative to the UN noted the importance of the international community insisting on the fulfillment of obligations by Armenia on this issue.