During approximately 30 years of occupation, Armenia has purposefully tried to erase the traces of the Azerbaijani people who have lived in these territories for centuries. About ten cities and hundreds of villages in Azerbaijan have been wiped out and the territories heavily-mined by Armenia. After the end of the Patriotic War on November 10, 2020, 208 people were killed by landmines. 37 of them died, others injured and became disabled. Most of the victims were members of the same family who wanted to visit their homes and the graves of their relatives.
In total, 3,159 Azerbaijani citizens have been killed by mines and other explosive ordnance since 1991. 354 of them are women and 54 are children. Azerbaijan is one of the most mine-polluted countries in the world. According to the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action, which implements demining operations, and other local and international operators, more than 55,000 mines and other explosive ordnance were found and neutralized as a result of post-war demining operations. Sometimes 5-6 anti-personnel mines are detected in one square meter area and neutralized. Sometimes 18-20 mine lines are detected in the direction of settlements liberated from 30 years of occupation. Accurate data have been collected only by ANAMA about mine incidents around more than 210 settlements.
Although after numerous international pressures Armenia has provided some of the mine maps to Azerbaijan but in very low accuracy.
Armenian state bears responsibility for landmines planted in Azerbaijani territories and human rights violations as a result. By rejecting to cooperate in this issue, Armenia facilitates mines to kill and maim civilians, thus violating the major fundamental human right to live.
More than 500 civilians were killed and wounded and numerous destructions were committed in Ganja, Barda, Tartar and other cities on the course of the Patriotic War as a result of rocket and artillery attacks on civilians, including ballistic and prohibited cluster missiles and phosphorus-containing artillery shells fired by Armenia. Even today, scattered cluster munitions in the areas cause socio-economic and human loses.
During numerous visits to the liberated territories and war-torn cities, foreign diplomats, representatives of international organizations and foreign journalists witnessed Armenian barbarism. The mine problem delays the reconstruction and rehabilitation processes being implemented by Azerbaijan in the liberated territories, as well as the return of IDPs who have been anticipating this day for decades. Now, Azerbaijan is carrying out demining activities in these areas at its own expense. However, this process requires a lot of financial resources and time.
We, the participants of the 5th Congress of World Azerbaijanis, consider the total mining of Azerbaijani territories during the occupation by Armenia for 30 years and the incomplete submission of mine maps as a crime against humanity. We declare that Armenia’s actions contradict the international law, including the 1949 Geneva Convention-Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.
We invite the world community, international organizations and institutions to give the necessary legal assessment to the anti-humanitarian policy pursued by Armenia manifested in total mining of Azerbaijani territories. At the same time, we call for practical, technical and financial support to Azerbaijan’s efforts towards restoring the liberated territories and ensuring the safe return of people to their homes.
The appeal was made at the 5th Congress of the World Azerbaijanis.
The Republic of Azerbaijan, city of Shusha, 23 April 2022