The recent arrest by the Azerbaijani government of philanthropist, entrepreneur, Armenian citizen and co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Ruben Vardanyan is outrageous and politically motivated. As representatives of the global humanitarian and human rights community, we call for his immediate release, says the statement of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
“The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, to which Ruben has given so much, has for the past eight years honored and supported the work of those who fight for basic human rights, often at the risk of their own lives, all around the world. The irony is that Ruben now finds himself a victim of the same persecution as those he has sought to help as a human rights defender.
When Ruben moved to Nagorno-Karabakh over a year ago, prior to the 10-month-long blockade of all food and basic necessities and recent bombings, he did so knowing that there were significant risks, but he was determined to help find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Detaining Ruben, a man who has spent the last 20 years dedicated to advancing the socio-economic development of the region, is unjust. This action deprives him of his basic rights much like the tens of thousands of Armenians of the region whose fundamental human rights are violated daily.
Ruben Vardanyan is being held captive because of his support for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and their right to a democratic way of life. The Azerbaijani government must release him and demonstrate their respect for human rights – his and those of all Armenians of the region,” the statement reads.