24 June 2021
The Federation of Armenian Organizations in the Netherlands (FAON) reported that the House of Representatives of The Netherlands adopted a motion on 23 June 2021 requesting from the government not to send representatives to Azerbaijan in case the Dutch national soccer team qualifies to play the quarterfinals scheduled to be held in Baku on 3 July 2021. The FAON expressed its gratitude to MPs Gert Jan Segers (Christian Union) and Tom van der Lee (Left Greens) who presented this motion at the House of Representatives. As a result, neither the King of the Netherlands nor the government will send representatives to Azerbaijan to attend soccer games.
The Netherlands will play against the Czech Republic in the Euro-2020 UEFA European Football Championship on 27 June, and if the Dutch team wins, it will be qualified to play the quarterfinals in Baku against either Denmark or Wales.
The motion is based on the fact that since the end of the Second Artsakh War, more than 200 Armenian prisoners of war are still illegally held captive in total violation of international laws and the cease-fire statement that was signed on 9 November 2020. The motion also condemns the “Trophy Park” that was inaugurated by Aliyev in Baku to “commemorate” in a blunt violation of humanitarian laws the killing and wounding of the Armenian soldiers during that war.
It must be noted that just days ago the Dutch parliament also passed a motion calling for the immediate release of the Armenian prisoners of war. The motion that was adopted unanimously also requests the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs to call upon the European Council to put more pressure on Azerbaijan regarding the release of all Armenian prisoners of war.
FAON is one of the organizations that constitute Free Armenian POWs Global Network that was launched in March to raise awareness globally and demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Armenian prisoners of war. So far 4 protests had been organized in The Hague within this global campaign.