Issues of Missing Persons and Their Families Considered Non-Urgent12:33, August 28, 2015 | Announcements, Own
In 1982, August 30 was first declared the International Day of the Disappeared (Missing Persons) in Latin America. Presently, this day is commemorated not only in Latin America but in many countries around the world. The 3 countries of the South Caucasus marked it for the first time in 2004, with the efforts of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly South Caucasus offices.
Over 25 years, the families of the persons missing in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have lived in the dark, and their legal, social, health and many other issues have remained unresolved.
To resolve the issues of the missing persons and their families, over 10 years ago the HCA Vanadzor initiated development of the RA draft Law on Missing Persons which received some attention only 10 years after, in March 2010, as the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated mapping out of the RA draft Law on Missing Persons, involving representatives of a number of state agencies, namely the RA National Assembly, the RA President’s Office, Ministry of Defense, Police, National Security Service, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Security Issues, Human Rights Defender’s Office, as well as the International Red Cross Committee and the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor.
In April 2011, the draft law was already developed and then it was to be considered by the interagency committee to be finally put on the agenda of the National Assembly. Throughout the development of the draft, the International Red Cross Committee provided expert support. For a long time, the final presentation of the draft law on Missing Persons has seen no progress, and no proposals on adoption of the law have been included in the Action Plan of the Human Rights Strategy. And the most recent authorities’ position on not giving any importance to this issue was expressed by considering the adoption of the draft law non-urgent, and the HCA Vanadzor informed thereof the RA Ministry of Justice by its letter of August 4, 2015.
HCA Vanadzor expresses its concern regarding the aforesaid, recording once again the fact that the state bears no responsibility towards the people, even considering that after the ceasefire of 1994, the both sides still sustain losses due to ceasefire violations and regular escalation of the situation, and numerous people are taken captive and go missing on the Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijani separating line and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border line.
Given this, the Government’s behavior proves inconsistent with the state’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions. The unsettled Nagorno-Karabakh issue, frequency and escalation of the ceasefire violations and numbers of servicemen missing or captured make the adoption of the RA draft Law on Missing Persons urgent. Also, its adoption might have a preventive role making it possible to ensure the protection of the rights of the missing persons and their relatives.
We hereby consider it essential to once again remind the authorities that delaying the adoption of the RA draft Law on Missing Persons is unacceptable since all the existing legal regulations have proved ineffective so far.
We hereby urge the RA Government to immediately resume the process for the adoption of the RA draft Law on Missing Persons.
August 28, 2015