Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, who earlier this week said that Azerbaijani forces were fortifying their positions in Gegharkunik Province in violation of international law, firmly stood by his statements on Friday after Armenia’s Defense Ministry refuted his statements and warned him to “fact check.”
In an a powerful statement issued on Friday, Tatoyan fire back and accused the Defense Ministry and Armenia’s National Security Service of launching a campaign to discredit the Human Rights Defender’s Office.
Tatoyan said that while reports and statements by his office may cause “political grievances,” they are there as a valuable tools to protect the rights of Armenia’s citizens and may be used within the international community.
Tatoyan also publicized a video, demonstrating the extent of Azerbaijan’s infringement into Armenia’s sovereign territory.
“The purpose of the October 18 statement was to show the illegal actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces and the direct connection of those actions with the violations of the life, property and other vital rights of the Armenia’s civilians. The matter is that such actions are followed by their subsequent criminal acts, including terrorist acts, against the [Armenian] civilian population and servicemen, which protect the very life, safe and peaceful life of that population and other vital rights,” explained the Human Rights Defender’s Office in a statement, adding that Tatoyan sounded the alarm on Tuesday to shed light on Azerbaijan’s continued violation of international law.
“Both this and any other statement by the Human Rights Defender is based on reliable data of fact-finding work,” added the statement.
“Furthermore, the mentioned statement was based on facts which the staff of the Human Rights Defender has consistently collected as a result of its daily monitoring and research during the months,” said Tatoyan’s office.
“Therefore, the officials of the administrative staff of the Defense Ministry who decided to make a statement on October 19 questioning the results of the Human Rights Defender’s fact-finding work on the unlawful actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, should always remember that the Ombudsman never makes statements that are exaggerated or, moreover, have inaccuracies,” stressed the announcement.
“In general, if the Human Rights Defender makes a public statement, then he has credible evidence for that—not one, but at least several. Therefore, we demand from those officials of the [defense] ministry not to no longer allow such short-sighted announcements when responding to the statements of the Armenia’s Human Rights Defender,” added the statement.
“In fact, using the October 19 denial of Armenia’s Defense Ministry in their favor, statements were made by local and foreign Azerbaijani sources that the Defense Ministry was confirming that reports or allegations of Armenia’s Human Rights Defender on the rights of border residents are false, appealing to various institutions and demanding that the Ombudsman’s reports and statements no longer be taken as a basis,” explained the statement.