Thursday, 06 May 2021

W Weekly Update

20-27 March

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Weekly update


27 March
There are many weapons that changed the entire spectrum of warfare. Drones are also considered among them. Umair Aslam, who is doing his bachelors from the National University of Modern Languages, discusses the use of drones in the 44 day Nagorno Karabagh conflict, which eventually lead to Azerbaijan's victory, as Azerbaijani Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) and suicide/kamikaze drones were able to destroy heavy ground units, including T-72 tanks and advanced S-300 air defences, reported Global Village Space.  Drones emerged as a potential threat to enemy lines. According to reports, Azerbaijan bought Bayrakhtar TB2 UCAV from Turkey at the start of 2020 while Israeli-built drones were procured during the 2010s. During the whole conflict following drones influenced the battlefield and regrettably claimed victory over Armenian front line positions. The Bayrakhtar TB2 is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) manufactured by Turkish aerospace company Baykar Makina. This UCAV is capable of conducting Intelligence, Surveillance and this UCAV has an endurance of 27 hours and can be armed with light munitions. They carry laser-guided bombs and Azeri troops.


26 March
On March 24, 2021, the National Assembly of Armenia adopted the legislative draft “On Making Amendments to the RA Civil Legislation,” tripling the maximum penalties for insult and defamation to 3 and 6 million Armenian drams (approximately $5,700 and $11,400), respectively. In response to the Armenian parliament’s approval of amendments that threaten to curtail media freedom and freedom of expression by significantly increasing fines for defamation and insult, Freedom House issued the following statement: “It is the responsibility of the Armenian authorities to protect media freedom and free expression in the country,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “It is unfortunate that the Armenian government is supporting fines that will stifle free expression and threaten the financial viability of media outlets in the country. Civil society has rightly criticized the bill on grounds that it could be abused to levy excessive fines and apply political pressure against independent media organizations for criticizing politicians and other powerful public figures. We urge the Armenian authorities to take the concerns of civil society and media organizations seriously, and strike down this legislation.” The bill was adopted without taking into account the views of the Ministry of Justice or the Human Rights Defender’s Office, nor of the civil society and media organizations that expressed serious concerns about it. The Union of Journalists of Armenia has appealed to Armenia’s president not to sign the law, and to send it to the Constitutional Court for review.


25 March
The Azerbaijani authorities, occupying the Hadrut region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) after the 2020 war, completely destroyed the Armenian Church of St. Mariam Astvatsatsin (Mother Mary) in Mekhakavan (Jabrayil), said The BBC filmed in Mekhakavan. BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher tried to film the church of St. Mariam Astvatsatsin, which was desecrated by the Azerbaijani servicemen after the occupation. One of them climbed on the church, trying to knock down the cross. The Azerbaijani policeman accompanying the journalists’ team answering to the question where the church was, says that they have no information about the church. Therefore, the British journalist himself, with the help of his smartphone, finds the church location and goes there with the cameraman. However, the hill on which St. Mariam Astvatsatsin Church was supposed to be is empty now. Only stones were still lying on the floor, which are supposedly left from the church. Jonah Fischer compared the place of the old photo of the church he had, made sure that they are in the same place; the only difference is that the church does not exist anymore.


24 March
The Federal Secretary of Italy's Lega Nord Party Matteo Salvini says it’s impossible to negotiate with Turkey as long as that country has not recognized the Armenian Genocide, Armenpress reports. Salvini said in his speech at the Senate, in response to the speech of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The Federal Secretary of Italy's Lega Nord Party Matteo Salvini says it’s impossible to negotiate with Turkey as long as that country has not recognized the Armenian Genocide, Armenpress reports Salvini said in his speech at the Senate, in response to the speech of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. ''Of course, you are trying to bring a miracle into life, forcing the Turkish regime to demonstrate a good behavior, but I wish to remind that that regime rejects not only women's rights, but any kind of freedom and even denies historical justice. Let's not forget that justice for Armenians has not yet prevailed, the Armenian Genocide is not recognized yet.”


23 March
Azerbaijan’s international partners should press the Aliyev government to hold the perpetrators of the torture and degrading treatment against Armenian servicemen and civilians accountable, Human Rights Watch’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia Rachel Denber has told Armenpress news agency in an interview. According to Human Rights Watch documented cases in which Azerbaijani forces subjected POWs to cruel and degrading treatment and torture-- either when they were captured, during their transfer, or while in custody at various detention facilities. We also documented cases when they abused civilians. These are serious violations of the Geneva Conventions that rise to the level of a war crime. Azerbaijan’s international partners should press the government to hold the perpetrators accountable. They should regularly request information and updates on investigations and trials. This should be done in the framework of bilateral relations with Azerbaijan and also in multilateral fora, including the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.


22 March
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that the State Department place Azerbaijan on its Special Watch List for its ongoing and systematic religious freedom violations. In line with the report also cites the Azerbaijani attack on Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. The country update also details the many obstacles posed by mandatory registration and other restrictions on religious communities, the continued imprisonment of religious activists, and recent violations committed in the context of the renewed conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. The report highlights that during the renewed conflict in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020, the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi was hit twice by Azerbaijani forces. In December, Human Rights Watch concluded that the attack was intentional, constituting a war crime that should be investigated and prosecuted.


21 March
“The Genocide in Shoushi was the first manifestation of the aggressive policy pursued against Artsakh by an artificially created state called “Azerbaijan.” According to, as a result of this monstrous crime, thousands of Armenians were killed, tens of thousands were forced to leave the town, the Armenian cultural heritage was destroyed, the people’s property was looted, and the sacred sites were desecrated,” Artsakh’s Foreign ministry said in a statement. “This tragic event was a signal of what kind of policy Azerbaijan will adopt in the coming decades. The logical continuation of such misanthropic actions was the Armenian-phobia policy pursued by Azerbaijan since 1988 at the state level, accompanied by massacres, pogroms and ethnic cleansing,” it added. The Ministry added that the fact that the international community didn’t give a proper assessment to the genocidal policy of Baku and Ankara and the criminals remained unpunished led to a new aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh on September 27, 2020 with the support of Turkey and the participation of international terrorists, resulting in the occupation of the town of Shushi.


20 March
Since February, thousands of people have been leaving Armenia. In addition to the acute political crisis, this is one of the most actively discussed topics in the country. According to air borders with Russia opened on February 1, 2021 following the shutdown last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, they were to be open for only a month, but in March it was announced they would be kept open another month. This created such a stir that the prices of air tickets rose 10 fold – but the number of people wishing to leave did not decrease. In February alone, 58,297 passengers departed from Zvartnots and Shirak airports, and 31,901 people arrived in Armenia. Last year, in the same period, 99,065 left, and 96,970 arrived. In both cases, more passengers flew out, but this year, an additional 26,000 left the country – not just. “Unfortunately, there is no accurate information on countries of destination because of transit flights,” says Satenik Hovhannisyan, public relations officer at Zvartnots airport.



27 April 2021
19 April 2021
12 April 2021
05 April 2021
29 March 2021
22 March 2021
13 March 2021

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