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The Azerbaijani police base, barricades, and cameras, the deployment of armed servicemen on the Vorotan road are clearly illegal and subject to be removed immediately. The Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Armenia (RA), Arman Tatoyan, informed about this, summing up the details of their fact-finding work done on the spot.

"In particular, on September 9, 2021, on the Yerevan-Kapan M2 interstate road in the Vorotan settlement section of Goris [city], the Azerbaijani authorities have set up a police base, which started operating on September 11.

The ombudsman's fact-finding work has revealed gross human rights abuses on that section of the road.

In particular:

1) After the deployment of the Azerbaijani police base, a total of 10 video cameras installed on the mentioned section of the road were revealed.

In fact, people's personal data are being collected [with these video cameras] in a blatantly illegal manner, in gross violation of the rules of international protection of those data.

It is a matter of openly, unlawfully intruding on a person's private life and the safety of travelers.

2) At least 4 Azeri servicemen who are almost always masked, with their faces completely covered, demonstratively armed with machine guns and other weapons, are on permanent duty at the police base.

This is an absolutely inadmissible, an outfit of obvious intimidation, given that it is a road of interstate significance connecting communities and that the road is driven mainly by civilians. Moreover, the Azerbaijani servicemen being in masks absolutely increases their risk of their committing illegal actions and ensures impunity.

3) Barricades are placed on the road in the immediate vicinity of the Azerbaijani police base.

Moreover, the armed servicemen of the base stop, without any legal grounds, the trucks with Iranian license plates legally traveling on that road (…).

In addition, drivers are required, without legal grounds, to provide documents and various amounts of money payments. (…)

According to a number of reports, the Azerbaijani armed servicemen introduce themselves to the Iranian drivers that they are Armenians.

Due to these illegal, obvious criminal acts of the Azerbaijani armed servicemen, the movement of people and civilian vehicles has slowed down significantly, which is why traffic jams have become more frequent.

4) The Azerbaijani authorities have openly unlawfully seized the Vorotan settlement’s building and the adjacent land where their armed servicemen are stationed, and in the immediate vicinity of which an Azerbaijani police base, barricades, and video cameras are installed.

The thing is that this building and the land belong to an RA citizen, with the right of ownership. (…).

This means that any kind of Azerbaijani installation in the mentioned building or land in Vorotan is illegal (…).

Thus, all the noted actions by the Azerbaijani armed servicemen, including those related to the police base, cause massive human rights violations. (…).

It should also be taken into account that so far there has been no delimitation and demarcation of the state border between the two countries.

This means that the deployment of an Azerbaijani police base, barricades, and video cameras, as well as Azerbaijani armed personnel in the Vorotan settlement section of the RA Goris community lacks any legal title. (…).

Therefore, the Azerbaijani police base and barricades and the armed services must be removed immediately.

With this message, the Human Rights Defender has informed the international organizations (UN, OSCE, CoE, etc.) about the situation," Tatoyan added.

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