by Ashot Safaryan
Twenty-five years later spread of similar and even more acute hatred, war propaganda in Azerbaijan by the Azerbaijani leadership often leads to the aggravation of the situation and loss of innocent lives, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Eduard Nalbandian stated this at the discussion of UN High Level Segment of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 4 2014.
"Such propaganda preceded anti-Armenian massacres in Azerbaijan - in Sumgait, Baku, Maragha and many other places, when thousands of Armenians were tortured, killed, thus starting the ethnic cleansing of Armenians living on the territory of Azerbaijan", - he said.
"The UN treaty bodies do an important job to monitor human rights situation worldwide and help countries improve their human rights record. We especially appreciate the work of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which recently elaborated Recommendation No.35 on racist hate speech. In particular, the Committee underlined the role of hate speech in processes leading to mass violations of human rights in conflict situations and genocide. The Committee members issued the above-mentioned Recommendation being fully aware of the role of hate speech in instigating racial hatred and discrimination, and reflected at length on the dangers it posed. The Universal Periodic Review became a good tool in protection and promotion of human rights. It is a known fact that efficiency of human rights protection international mechanisms depends on the political will and readiness of Member States to implement their commitments by respecting the adopted rules and procedures. Since its launch in 2008, the UPR was meant to focus exclusively on human rights and avoid politicization of the raised issues. During Armenia’s UPR review, the Armenian side accepted the recommendations made by Member States. Azerbaijan during its UPR turned the entire review into a politicized show, selectively interpreting international community's perception of human rights, refusing to accept any of recommendations made by the Armenian delegation - just because they were "recommended by Armenia". Such behavior undermines the whole concept and the foundations of the UPR. This was a violation of rules of procedure. I call upon the Member States to strongly react to such cases in order not to create such destructive precedence. Last year Armenia assumed chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The priorities of the Armenian Chairmanship have been defined in response to the challenges that the world faces today with regard to the protection of human rights, strengthening of democracy and respect for the rule of law. Racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance grossly violate human dignity and give rise to tensions within and between societies. That is why the fight against them became one of the main priorities of our chairmanship.
Speaking on the situation in Syria that still continues to remain complex and in the centre of attention of international community, I would like to welcome the unanimous adoption by the Security Council of the Resolution that speaks about the urgent need to increase humanitarian aid access in Syria, calling to immediately cease attacks against civilians and lift the siege of populated areas. We welcome all efforts towards the peaceful solution of the crisis. Armenia has already received over 10.000 refugees from Syria, and our Government tries to do its best to assist them", - Nalbandian concluded.