The board of the Coordinating Council of American Azerbaijanis has sent a letter to international organizations and members of the US House of Representatives in protest of Armenia’s inadmissible behavior on mine maps, The State Committee on Work with Diaspora of the Republic of Azerbaijan told APA.
The letter reads: “The Honorable Antonio Guterres! I am writing this letter on behalf of the Azerbaijan Association of New York and seven other societies in the US, to draw your attention to the serious threat arising from the massive contamination of the liberated territories of Azerbaijan with mines and other explosive devices deployed by Armenia, and the latter’s refusal to release information regarding the minefields in these territories, which creates an obstacle for the implementation of large-scale restoration and reconstruction work in these areas.
Today, the Azerbaijani civilians and servicemen face serious threats to their lives and health due to the unmarked landmines planted by Armenia in the territories of Azerbaijan during almost three decades of their occupation of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia has deliberately planted mines on a massive scale during its forced withdrawal as a result of the counteroffensive operation of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, in violation of the international humanitarian law.
The tripartite statement signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, aimed at ensuring lasting and sustainable peace in the region, put an end to all military activities between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Now, it is time to provide a safe and peaceful environment in the liberated lands for all. However, almost one million IDPs still cannot return to their homes because of the landmines planted in those large areas. Although the parties agreed to resolve all issues at the negotiating table, Armenia does not provide maps of mined areas in the liberated lands of Azerbaijan.
Armenia is seriously violating its obligations under international humanitarian law by refusing to provide accurate information on mined areas. The end of human life by landmines planted by Armenia is a war crime. Armenia is committing a crime aimed at complicating and delaying the return of Azerbaijanis to their ancestral lands. 20 Azerbaijani citizens, including 14 civilians have been killed and 87 citizens, including 16 civilians have been seriously injured due to mine explosions in the newly-liberated lands since the signing of the Karabakh peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders on November 10, 2020.
The mines have been planted particularly in the residential areas, near the rivers, crossroads and cemeteries, which is a blatant violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I. We urge the world community and all relevant international organizations to pressure the government of Armenia to provide maps of minefields, which they refuse to do, endangering innocent civilians in returning to their homes after 30 years of their life as refugees.
This is an absolute necessity to save human lives and accelerate post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction processes. Reiterating the concern on unmarked landmines and their potential threats to human life, we call on you to condemn Armenia for not disclosing the maps of the landmines and to persuade Armenia to live up to its obligations under customary international law by releasing information regarding the location of the minefields.
Sincerely, Ercan Yerdelenli, President of the Azerbaijan Association of New York, NY Nargiz Aliyarova, President of the National Music &amp; Global Culture Society, New York, NY Aytaj Gasimova, North American Azerbaijani Youth Association, Washington DC Farid Mammedov , Azerbaijan Center of Midwest America , Chicago , IL Mehriban Mammedova , Azerbaijan Center of Midwest America , Chicago, IL Samir Novruzov, “The United States -Azerbaijan Karabakh Horses Rescue Association.”
Source: Azeri-Press News Agency