By Akbar Mammadov
Armenia has destroyed 1,107 educational facilities and 855 kindergartens in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has said in statement published in its official webpage on September 9.
The ministry’s statement is timed to International Day to Protect Education from Attack marked on September 9.
“The ongoing armed aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan has inflicted serious damage upon the education infrastructure of Azerbaijan. 1,107 educational facilities and 855 kindergartens in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan were totally destroyed.”
The ministry emphasized that as a result of Armenia’s ethnic cleansing policy, all Azerbaijanis, including schoolchildren, students and teachers have been expelled from their native lands in Armenia proper and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
“Tens of thousands Azerbaijani refugee and internally displaced boys and girls continue to realize their right to education under the shadow of serious challenges stemming from their continued displacement,” the ministry noted.
Furthermore, the ministry pointed out that many others along the line of confrontation attend their classes under the constant threat of being attacked by indiscriminate shelling of armed forces of Armenia, despite the formal ceasefire.
“As a result of heavy indiscriminate shelling of armed forces of Armenia in April 2016 alone, many schools in the Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam and Aghjabedi districts of Azerbaijan were seriously damaged, the secondary school of the Sarijaly village of the Aghdam district attended by 220 schoolchildren was destroyed,” the ministry added.
The ministry stressed that Azerbaijan, being a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, as well as to the 1949 Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims, has strongly and consistently supported international efforts aimed at ensuring effective protection for the rights of children and improving the situation of children affected by armed conflict.
“While joining the international community in marking September 9 as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, we underline Armenia’s responsibility for war crimes it has committed with regard to Azerbaijani schoolchildren.”
Furthermore, the ministry stressed that Armenia must implement the requirements of the four resolutions of the UN Security Council 1993 (822, 853, 874 and 884) to enable tens of thousands Azerbaijani children to realize their right to education in safety.
“Azerbaijan counts on support and solidarity of the international community, in this regard,” the ministry concluded.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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