By Vafa Ismayilova
A group of civil society organizations working in the war-affected regions of Azerbaijan has recently issued a petition against Armenia on the world-famous website www.change.org to urge the latter to submit mine maps of territories Yerevan had occupied, Azertag reported on April 22.
Azerbaijan's well-known public figures Chingiz Abdullayev, Azer Garibov, as well as Israeli international expert Arye Gut called on everyone to join the petition.
“The petition is a protest against the nearly 30-year occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan, as well as the territories that have seriously been mined by Armenian troops during the post-conflict period and their refusal to submit the maps of those mined areas,” President of the International Eurasia Press Fund, a key member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with main consultative status, one of the main initiators of the petition, Umud Mirzayev, has said.
The document says: “Armenia knows where the mines have been buried, but refuses to provide this information under various pretexts. Thirty years later, Azerbaijani IDPs are returning and trying to build their own lives in those mined areas. However, in the post-war period, more than 85 Azerbaijanis have been killed or seriously injured by landmines.”
"The petition is a joint appeal of many people on www.change.org to direct the world community, international organizations and media to the mine problem that encountered Azerbaijan. In a short period of time, the number of people who joined the petition exceeded 12,000. During this period, 118,750 views and 20,880 shares have been registered. Due to your support and unity, this statistic, which is growing every minute, brings us closer to our goal,” said the participants of the event.
Azerbaijani citizens also can visit the website https://www.change.org/p/republic-of-armenia-urge-armenia-release-the-map-of-landmines-in-liberated-areas-of-azerbaijan-to-save-lives and sign the petition.”
"By signing this petition, your call on Armenia to submit the maps of mined areas can prevent the loss of many innocent lives," public figures who participated at the event, told the media, civil society, and the general public.
On March 25, Azerbaijan's public figures and civil society organizations addressed a statement to international organizations requesting maps of Azerbaijani territories mined by Armenian military units. On April 4, they signed a petition against Armenia.
They addressed an open letter to the world community. For its part, the IEPF appealed to international organizations, such as Halo Trust, GICHD, APOPO "Mine Advisory Group" (MAG), which are actively involved in mine programs, to join the petition for the transfer of mine maps from Armenia to Azerbaijan.
The appeal says that "Azerbaijani IDP families are risking their lives because of those mines after returning to their homes. Those places where children walk now have the potential risk to take their lives at any time. More can be done to demand the maps. As citizens of the world, we also have a responsibility to uncover those mines. The identification of minefields in the liberated territories is another important step towards a peaceful future for both Azerbaijan and Armenia. We must continue to look into the future by correcting the mistakes of the past".
Earlier on April 20, President Ilham Aliyev said that "the refusal to provide these maps is yet another war crime on the part of Armenia. Due to its failure to provide mining maps after the end of the war, more than 100 civilians have been killed and injured. Work in this direction will be continued”.
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