Calls were made to exchange captives and hostages at OSCE Warsaw Summit

On September 16, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States, organized by OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) started its work in Warsaw, Poland. Representatives of OSCE participating States, OSCE institutions, and OSCE executive structures, representatives of inter-governmental organizations, legal professionals, representatives of civil society and researchers from 57 participating States took part in discussions.

On September 24, taking an active part in discussions on the topic of “Rule of law: Prevention of torture, abolition of capital punishment, protection of human rights and fighting terrorism”, Coordinator of the Information Center for Azerbaijani Captives and Hostages, human rights defender Dr. Ahmad Shahidov raised the issue of Azerbaijani captives and hostages and gave detailed information about Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev. Ahmad Shahidov said that during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, 3888 Azerbaijanis were lost and taken hostage, and that Azerbaijan has been working intensely with international organizations over these years, despite the fact that Armenia did not comply with international calls: “We welcome the issue of exchanging the captives between Ukraine and Russia and think that this humanitarian act must continue. My country, Azerbaijan, has been suffering from this problem for many years. Today, about 4,000 Azerbaijanis are considered captives, missing persons and hostages. We have repeatedly wanted the international mission to visit the occupied Azerbaijani lands and take an interest in the fate of those people. However, the official Yerevan disagrees. I want to tell you about two Azerbaijanis here. These persons Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev were taken hostage by Armenian armed forces during their trip to the occupied Kalbajar region in July 2014 to visit the graves of their relatives and an illegal trial was held against them. Over the past 5 years, I have made speeches at both the OSCE and other international organizations to release those civilians. However, Armenia continues to hold those persons as hostage.”

Human rights defender Ahmad Shahidov has brought to the attention of OSCE member states the principle of “All to all” proposed by Baku to exchange captives and hostages, and asked all countries to support this issue: “Azerbaijan has repeatedly offered to exchange the captives and hostages. Last week, the official Baku again made this humanist proposal. Specifically, we are ready to exchange the Azerbaijani civilian hostages Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev with Armenian citizens Karen Kazaryan and Araik Kazaryan. This is the official position of Azerbaijan. As a human rights defender, I ask you to support this humanitarian initiative and call on the Armenian side in this regard.”

PS. The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference. It is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for the 57 OSCE participating States, the OSCE Partners for Co-operation, OSCE structures, civil society, international organizations and other relevant actors to take stock of the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvement.

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