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On the initiative of the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Costas Mavrides (S&D, Cyprus) 30 MEPs from all the main political groups addressed a priority written question to the EU High Representative/Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell. The MEPs are asking what concrete steps the EU has taken to achieve the return of the Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) and other captives, including civilians and women held by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan continues to keep many hostage despite the trilateral ceasefire statement of 10.11.2020 (which stopped the war in Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh) and the reached agreement, stipulating the return of all the captives and prisoners of war.

Furthermore, the MEPs are asking the EU High Representative what measures the EU has taken to prevent the abuse and instrumentalization of Armenian captives, PoWs for political purposes and ensure that the Red Cross can visit them. To conclude the parliamentarians are raising the question whether the EU has requested Azerbaijan to communicate the exact number of the captives and if yes, what number has been communicated.

Elaborating on the cross-party written question MEP Mavrides stated: “In the face of the crimes against humanity, we cannot remain silent. That is why together with my colleagues from different political parties and member-states, we call on the EU to step up and proceed with concrete actions to achieve the fulfilment of paragraph 8 of the reached agreement, particularly with the return of the Armenian captives, prisoners of war, including civilians and women, being held by Azerbaijan despite the agreement. Azerbaijan blatantly violates the international law and we need to be vocal on this purely humanitarian issue.”

Commenting on the initiative of the MEPs, the EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian said: “It is evident that violating the reached agreement Azerbaijan is abusing this humanitarian issue to elicit political gain and inflict more suffering.”

“We welcome this initiative of the MEPs led by Mr. Mavrides. It is high time that the EU executive branch and the leaders of the EU Member states act. Human rights and human dignity are more than words and cannot be a bargaining chip. As EU citizens we expect the EU to use every diplomatic, political leverage and to stop this intolerable abuse of human dignity by the Azerbaijani authorities. It must be made clear that Azerbaijan has to respect its own commitment and immediately return all the Armenian captives,” Karampetian concluded.

European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy

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