Almost twelve months after the start of last year’s 44-day war between Azerbaijan – backed by Turkey and Syrian irregulars – and Armenia, there are still as many as 200 Armenian Prisoners of War being held in contravention of Geneva Convention 111 in relation to treatment of POWs. It is the latest iteration of the ongoing outrage that was the Armenian Genocide.
The September 2021 public report of the Human Rights Defender of the Armenian Republic states: ‘From the onset of the war the Azerbaijani government established a mechanism for processing and maintaining incoming captives in a way that allowed abuse, beatings, torture, harassment, and intimidation to be the norm… from local camps to their time in Military Police and National Security confinement. Because the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan had not established the legally required POW camps, there was no safe space for captives to exercise their legal rights as POWs. Captives were transported between various penitentiary locations, all the while being arbitrarily subjected to physical and psychological torture. The conditions that the POWs were kept in were purposefully designed to cause them suffering. POWs were not provided for with sufficient food or water. The guards would make them chant derogatory statements and regularly disturb their sleep. Captives in need received minimal medical attention if any and insufficient items of hygiene, making it extremely difficult for them to maintain their physical health and human dignity.’
The Murdoch papers will not publish this, of course. Murdoch has nothing to gain. The neo-conservative hard right leadership of many major countries will have no interest in poking their noses in. Armenia has no strategic importance as an ally. Intervention of any real kind is an act of mercy for Armenia, and if Geneva 111 is to have any force, the UN should send forces into Azerbaijan and teach them a lesson. I am sure we would love to see that. But Turkey, a NATO ally of many of the great nations, will object and diplomacy will be compromised. Having written that, doing the right thing always seems to be hard. But it is time.
As an Australian, I would like to see my government acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. But they won’t. Not with the current pack of corrupt neo-cons in charge. As I have said: nothing in it for them and a lot to lose; namely, the annual Anzac Day commemoration at Ariburnu, a loss that would outrage the conservative forces in Australia and bring down a government. To me, it is complicated, but it is time the UN grew a pair and started acting, rather than just handwringing. What Azerbaijan is doing is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. It deserves punishment.