The Human Rights Defender of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has posted the following on its Facebook page:
"The Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh, noticing the speculations on social networks about some photos involving children, and stressing the importance of protecting the rights of children, conducted research on the origin and content of those photos.
The results of the research revealed the following circumstances:
1. In one of the photos, girls are presented with rifles by their fathers and other freedom fighters. The analysis of the photo shows that they do not even have the skills to hold a rifle; it is ridiculous to argue about their participation in hostilities.
2. In another photo, a boy is obviously just getting acquainted with a rifle without a magazine. The Ombudsman has doubts about the origin of this photo, as it was found only on Azerbaijani online platforms, it is impossible to verify its alleged Armenian source.
3. According to the collected data, the boy who is carrying shells in the third photo, is 16 years old and is functioning together with his father. It should be noted that international law prohibits the participation of children under the age of 15 in hostilities; moreover, the boy has not been directly involved in military operations.
The Human Rights Ombudsman, highlighting the proper protection of children's rights during hostilities, emphasizes that to date there have been no cases of children’s involvement in hostilities. However, the Ombudsman urges everyone to be careful in the matter of handling children under the age of 15 with weapons."