The information center for Azerbaijani captives and hostages has been launched today. The main goal of this center, which is a special project of the Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, is to inform the world community about the captured and hostaged Azerbaijani citizens during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in addition to legal cases in the direction of release of captives and hostages, to carry out extensive propaganda and advocacy activities, to protect the rights of Azerbaijani captives and hostages within the framework of cooperation with international organizations and human rights institutions, and to direct the attention of the international community to the release of Azerbaijani captives and hostages.
The Center’s website is located at www.hostages.az and is updated daily in Azerbaijani, Russian and English.
Coordinator of the Information center for Azerbaijani captives and hostages Ahmad Shahidov said in his interview to ARB24 Television that one of the humanitarian disasters of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is related to captives, missing and hostage civilians: “This issue has always been of great importance to Azerbaijan, and the Azerbaijani state has always kept this issue on the agenda. Today, 3875 Azerbaijanis are held hostage on the Armenian side. 3168 of them are military men and 707 are civilians. These persons were taken hostage in 1991-1994. These people are exposed to illegal exploitation and torture and become victims of human trafficking. From time to time, we receive some unspecified information about them. But official Yerevan denied this information and did not allow independent observers to meet with Azerbaijani hostages.
On the other hand, we have witnessed this type of activity in recent years as well. Official Yerevan brutally violates the Geneva Conventions, regarding Dilgam Asgarov, Shahbaz Guliyev and Hasan Hasanov, who was taken hostage in July 2014. We have also witnessed the same violations of the law regarding the Azerbaijani hostage Elnur Huseynzade, who was taken hostage in February 2017. And international organizations are silent about this.”
Speaking about the main goals of the Information center for Azerbaijani captives and hostages, Ahmad Shahidov said that they are working in daily regime: “The main mission of our Center is to provide information and deliver the truth about our captives and hostages to the world community. We will give the main advantage to information in English and Russian. Our target audience is the international community, in particular the international organizations, human rights platforms and European institutions. Our aim is to spread information in Russian and English languages for the Armenian community as well. Thus, today there is a lack of information in Armenian society about captives and hostages. The Armenian authorities do not give true information to their people. Although the Azerbaijani side has raised the issue of exchanging the captives and hostages at different levels, official Yerevan denies this proposal and does not inform the Armenian community about it. So, we will try to publish information that is targeted at the Armenian community, and that more people in Armenia can think and talk about the humanitarian policy of Azerbaijan.”