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01/30/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) –  Media reports that only five Armenian prisoners of war have been returned by Azerbaijan following international attention to the status of Nagorno-Karabakh’s prisoners of war. Armenia has reportedly returned all Azeri captives from the 44-day war.

However, until January 28, no Armenian prisoners of war had yet been brought home. According to Article 8 of the Russian-brokered truce agreement this past November, there was supposed to be a  full “exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead.” Though Armenian has proactively been fulfilling these obligations, Azerbaijan has not reciprocated.  

Russia had to broker the agreement to bring home the five Armenian captives held by Azerbaijan. A comprehensive plan for Armenian POW return was not completed during an earlier meeting this month. It was also reported that an additional 62 Armenian POWs talked with relatives on the phone.

Though not solely motivated for religious reasons, the war ignited by Azerbaijan and Turkey has strong religious freedom implications. The ethnic Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh is predominately Christian, and was indeed the first Christian nation in history. Azerbaijan and Turkey are united in their shared Turkic Muslim identity. Both the ethnic and religious elements factor heavily throughout this conflict. For more information, read ICC’s report on Nagorno-Karabakh, Anatomy of a Genocide. ICC’s petition for the return of Armenian POWs can be found at this link.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected]