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Appointed Nagorno Karabakh’s human rights ombudsman by its National Assembly last May, lawyer Ruben Melikyan was has since went about documenting the more egregious atrocities committed during the April war, compiled in a report that he presented in Europe and the United States in recent weeks.
In an interview with Foreign Policy and elsewhere Melikyan stressed the need for international human rights groups, such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, to visit Karabakh to be able to prepare on the ground independent assessments of the developments there, and help break the “vicious circle” of violent incidents.
In fact, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty reports from Karabakh from the early 1990s constitute key independent assessments of the Karabakh war from a human rights perspective. Since then both groups have largely ignored Karabakh, with their regional focus on events in Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan. More recently, HRW’s South Caucasus researcher was barred from visiting Azerbaijan, as part of a wider crackdown on human rights and civil society groups in that country.