YEREVAN — Armenia strongly condemned Azerbaijan on Tuesday for opening a special park in Baku to display military equipment seized from Armenian troops during last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The “park of trophies” inaugurated by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Monday features not only military hardware but also helmets of Armenian soldiers killed in action and degrading wax mannequins of Armenian military personnel. The public demonstration of these and other items is meant to underscore Azerbaijan’s victory in the six-week war which Russia helped to stop on November 10.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry accused Baku of “dishonoring the memory of victims of the war, missing persons and prisoners of war and violating the rights and dignity of their families.”
“At a time when the consequences of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh haven’t been fully addressed, when numerous Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijani captivity, with the organization of such an “exhibition” wrapped in the elements of marauding, Azerbaijan is finally consolidating its position as a global center of intolerance and xenophobia. Such anti-human behavior of the Azerbaijani high-ranking leadership is more vocal than any statement or PR-campaign on peace, tolerance and multiculturalism,” the Ministry added.
“On one hand, the Azerbaijani leadership is making observations about possible revanchisme on the part of Armenia, and on the other hand, with such exhibition, attempts to perpetuate the revanchisme, inhumanity and interethnic hatred. Such steps manifest how far the Azerbaijani leadership stands from its own declarative statements on the post-conflict situation, regional peace and reconciliation,” the Foreign Ministry concluded.
Armenia’s human rights defender, Arman Tatoyan, decried the “clear manifestation of fascism.” “This once again shows that we must not allow ourselves to be numbed by Azerbaijan’s false pacifist programs,” he said.
“It is obvious from the published videos and photos of the “Park” that the exhibition was designed to increase and encourage hatred and animosity towards the population of Armenia and Artsakh, the citizens of Armenia. Exhibitions are with cynicism to publicly humiliate the memory of the victims of the war, the missing persons and the captives, to violate the rights and dignity of their families,” Tatoyan said.
“The Azerbaijani authorities also showed scenes of Armenian prisoners in the opened “park.” This step is especially reprehensible against the background that in Azerbaijan, prisoners of war and civilians continue to be held illegally, in gross violation of international human rights requirements.,” the Human Rights Defender stressed.