By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry calls the international community, the relevant international organizations to react publicly to the deliberate targeting by Armenia of children and educational facilities in Azerbaijan and take effective actions to stop the climate of impunity lasting for three decades.
In the statement, ministry urges the international community to refrain from the actions, such as rendering political, financial and especially military support to Armenia which contributes to the grave violations committed by this country against the children in Azerbaijan.
“Children represent the future. If the international community fails today its universal moral obligation to protect the future generation and provide them with safe haven, ignoring the decades-lasting plight and suffering of the whole generation, and failing to secure justice and rule of law which sow the seeds for conflicts to continue,” the statement reads.
The ministry stressed that for almost three decades hundreds of thousands of children in Azerbaijan suffer from the ongoing aggression of Armenia and its long-lasting effects. During this period, Armenia ignoring moral imperatives and legal responsibilities, deprived the Azerbaijani children of their inherent rights defined in the international documents, and their right to be brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the United Nations Charter, in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, equality and solidarity as described in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Moreover, Armenia has been using acts of genocide as a means to instil fear and to terrorize the entire population and force them to flee. It was noted that only in Khojaly massacre 613 civilians of whom 63 were children were brutally killed and many were maimed by the armed forces of Armenia in 1992.
The ministry underlined that 1 million Azerbaijanis, one third of whom are children were forcefully expelled and driven away from their homes in contrary to Article 49 of IV Geneva Convention.
“For almost 15 years the larger part of the forcefully displaced children in Azerbaijan had to live in tent camps and villages consisting of luggage vans on railways which were subsequently abolished as a result of the tremendous efforts and budget resources allocated by the Government of Azerbaijan. The internally displaced children in Azerbaijan still cannot realize their right to voluntary return to their lands in safety and dignity despite the provisions of relevant documents, including the UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 adopted in 1993,” the statement says.
Furthermore, the ministry emphasized that the ongoing armed aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan has inflicted serious damage upon the infrastructure for children in Azerbaijan, in contrary to the Article 50 of the IV Geneva Convention which provides that the occupying power shall facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.
“Armenia which presents itself as one of the “advocates” of the Safe Schools Declaration is responsible for total destruction of 1107 educational facilities and 855 kindergartens in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As a result of the ethnic cleansing policy, all Azerbaijani schoolchildren and students have been expelled from their native lands. Tens of thousands of Azerbaijani children continue to realize their right to education under serious challenges stemming from their continued displacement. Many others along the line of confrontation attend their classes under the constant threat of being attacked by the indiscriminate bombing of the armed forces of Armenia,” the statement reads.
Likewise, it was noted that 224 children were taken hostage by Armenia and were subsequently released, 29 children are still considered to be in Armenian captivity and 71 children are still missing as a result of Armenia’s aggression, despite the fact that taking of hostages is clearly prohibited by the Article 34 of the IV Geneva Convention and in violation of Article 38 (1) and (4) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Even during the ceasefire regime, Armenia hasn’t refrained from such despicable activities as using children as targets. Thus, more than 35 Azerbaijani children were killed by the armed forces of Armenia during this period.
The statement noted that on September 27, Armenian armed forces have launched another aggression against Azerbaijan, as a result of which 47 Azerbaijani civilians, including 3 children were killed, more than 15 children were injured, and dozens of civilian objects, including 38 schools were destroyed.
On September 27, five members of one family in Gashalty village of Naftalan region of Azerbaijan, including two schoolchildren, 13 years old Shakhriyar Gurbanov and 14 years old Fidan Gurbanova, were killed by the armed forces of Armenia. In addition, on the night of October 11, 10 civilians were killed, 34, including minors, were seriously injured as a result of rocket fire on residential buildings in Ganja city situated far beyond the frontline and 3 children lost their both parents.
Moreover, Armenia’s attacks seriously damaged the education process in hundreds of schools near the conflict zone and border with Armenia and once again infringed the right to education of Azerbaijani children.
“Despite numerous warnings by the Azerbaijani side, the continuation of the targeted attacks on civilians, as well as children by the armed forces of Armenia is a clear demonstration of the racist and xenophobic policy of this state. By killing and maiming children, as well as attacking against schools and hospitals Armenia continues to commit grave violations against children in times of armed conflict identified in Resolution 1261 (1999) of the United Nations Security Council,” the statement reads.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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