Everyone has a right to know about the fate and whereabouts of his/her missing relative(s)00:09, April 11, 2016 | News, Own news | Rights of Soldiers/Recruits, The Rights of Conflict Victims
To contribute to the study of the circumstances in which persons went missing during the hostilities broken out on the night of April 2, 2016, their fate and likely whereabouts, the circumstances of captivity of prisoners of war, and the potential activities aimed at their return, as well as to support the study of the circumstances and causes of how servicemen were killed in action and promote their families’ right to receive information, HCA Vanadzor carries on its activities aimed at collection of information.
Many citizens are missing now due to the conflict, and their families face uncertainty and know nothing about their fate.
The Organization has collected information about 16 missing persons so far; such information was obtained from the families of such persons, social networks, media and official sources. Relevant inquiries were also submitted to the RA Ministry of Defense.
In regard to these and potential future incidents of people going missing in action, the state is under direct obligation not only to carry out a thorough investigation to find out the causes and circumstances of such incidents, but also to provide the families of the missing persons with relevant information. While 25 years have already passed since the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 1992-1994, the families of many persons, who went missing then, still know nothing about their fate. True, the state institutions were still at the stage of development then, and there could be many difficulties, but facing the same situation again 25 years later should at least be considered to pose concern.
The behavior of the state should be consistent with its obligations under the Geneva Conventions.
One of the main conditions for the resolution of the issues of missing persons might be the adoption of the RA Draft Law on Missing Persons, which would stipulate collection of information on missing persons as well as provision of required information to their families and, what is essential, provision of psychological, social and legal support to them by an independent state agency.
However, the Draft Law above has not been adopted so far, and as the present situation shows, it is not only required but also very urgent since its adoption might play a preventive role and make it possible to ensure the protection of the rights of the missing persons and their families and provide them with comprehensive assistance.
We consider it necessary to stress again that the issues of the missing persons are humanitarian in nature, and it is unacceptable to speculate on them for any political purposes. The conflicting parties should spare no efforts to collect and exchange information on the fate and whereabouts of the missing persons and to exchange the persons or bodies found.
HCA Vanadzor carries on its actions aimed at collection of relevant information.