Despite Repeated Demands, Armenia Refuses To Provide Azerbaijan With Maps Of Minefields - Ombudsman

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 4. Despite repeated demands, Armenia has not yet provided Azerbaijan with accurate maps of minefields, Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva said in her appeal to the international community in connection with April 4, International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, trend reports.

Azerbaijan has for years been victim to Armenia's mining its territories. Following the end of the second Karabakh war in 2020, Azerbaijan started large-scale work on de-mining its liberated territories, yet the mine threat still remains.

"Regretfully, it must be noted that Armenia did not only suffice to keep our cities and districts in the Karabakh and East Zangazur regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan under occupation for nearly 30 years but also massively contaminated those areas by mines in order to damage human lives and health," said Sabina Aliyeva.

She noted that as a result of the numerous mine explosions that occurred after the tripartite statement, signed on November 10, 2020, not only servicemen but also civilians suffered from mine terrorism.

"The Armenian side not only avoids providing accurate maps of landmines on our territories but also continues contaminating our liberated areas with mines through sabotage groups," she added.

Sabina Aliyeva added that according to the information of the Mine Action Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, during the period after the second Karabakh war, 289 citizens became victims of mines and other explosive devices, 51 of whom were killed and 238 received injuries. In general, since 1991, as a result of mine explosions, 3368 people, including 357 children and 38 women, have been killed or injured.

In March 2023, 270 anti-personnel and 656 anti-tank landmines, as well as 1,465 units of unexploded ordnance, were discovered and removed in Tartar, Aghdam, Khojavand, Fuzuli, Lachin, Khojaly, Shusha, Gubadli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan districts as part of the de-mining process. A total area of 5,983.6 hectares has been cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance.

"The current mine problem, which causes numerous human losses, serious injuries and disability, is seriously hindering large-scale construction, building and restoration work, as well as the peace in our liberated territories," said the Ombdusman.

In her appeal to the international community, Sabina Aliyeva said that to ensure the safe return of Azerbaijani former internally displaced persons, who had been forced to leave their ancestral lands as a result of Armenia's ethnic cleansing and occupation policies carried out for many years, those areas should be cleared of mines, and the infrastructure, which was completely destroyed there, should be restored.

The Ombudsman noted that Armenia violated the norms and principles of international humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of War dated 12 August 1949 and Additional Protocol I, by contaminating Azerbaijan's liberated areas with mines, and by officially declaring this, it demonstrated open disrespect to the international community.

"We think that the world community should be united in the fight against mine terrorism for the sake of protecting the rights to life, to live in safety, and the right to health of human beings," Sabina Aliyeva added.

"In this regard, in our statements and appeals, as well as in our special report, addressed to international and regional organizations working in the field of human rights, and different national human rights institutions, we provided facts on the mine problem in the liberated areas and urged them to take urgent measures within their mandates," the Ombudsman said in the appeal.

Sabina Aliyeva noted that, unfortunately, the international community has not expressed concern about the threat of landmines created by Armenia against Azerbaijan until today and has not shown any interest in taking effective measures in this regard.

"As the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, I once again appeal to the international community to take a decisive position regarding the elimination of the existing problem and to support the de-mining process," she said.


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