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Law On Missing Persons Not Urgent, Armenian Justice Ministry Says

The postponement of the adoption of the law “On Missing Persons” is due to the fact the bill is not urgent, the Ministry of Justice of Armenia said in response to an inquiry by the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor office (HCAV).

In a statement issued on Friday, August 28 the human rights organization expressed concern about the Ministry's attitude, stressing that despite the ceasefire in 1994 between Armenia and Azerbaijan, both sides continue to suffer heavy losses: as a result of ceasefire violations and periodic escalation of the situation on the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, as well as the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, numerous people get captured and disappear without a trace.

“In this situation, the government's conduct does not conform to the state's obligations under the Geneva Conventions. The adoption of the RA law “On Missing Persons” is not only urgent, but it could also have a preventive role which would provide an opportunity to protect the rights of those missing and their relatives,” HCAV said. 

Recall, in March 2010 the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated works on a draft law “On Missing People” which were completed in April 2011. The bill should have then been considered by an interdepartmental commission in order to be added to the agenda of the RA National Assembly.

According to official data published by the Red Cross in 2014, 4610 people went missing as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.