By Vafa Ismayilova
A group of Azerbaijani journalists living abroad have urged the world community and international agencies to react to the recent killing of their colleagues in a mine blast in Kalbajar region liberated from Armenia's occupation in autumn 2020, the State Committee on Affairs with Diaspora of Azerbaijan has reported.
The journalists regretted that international NGOs, journalist associations, in many cases acting as defenders of the rights of journalists, do not react to such crimes, preferring to remain silent.
"We, Azerbaijani journalists living abroad, appeal to international structures, including the UN, the Council of Europe, as well as to human rights organizations such as the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch, and declare that the Armenian armed forces did not provide maps of minefields [to Azerbaijan]. Moreover, they secretly penetrate into the territory of Azerbaijan and continue to mine it, which seriously violates humanitarian norms and principles, human rights. As a result of these criminal actions, civilians are killed, including representatives of the media. Therefore, we demand that Armenia provide maps of minefields, stop mining the territories within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan," the appeal said.
They recalled that journalists play an important role in the dissemination of unbiased and objective information from the territories where the war ended.
With a feeling of great regret, we report that on June 4 in Kalbajar region's Susuzlug village, Azerbaijan Television and Radio Broadcasting CJSC (AzTV) cameraman Siraj Abishov and a Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) correspondent Maharram Ibrahimov were killed by a mine explosion. Also, four people were injured," said the appeal.
The appeal noted that after the end of the second Karabakh war, over 140 civilians were blown up on Armenian-planted mines on Azerbaijan's liberated territories, 27 of them have died.
"The tragedy that happened testifies to the fact that Armenia continues to pursue an insidious policy in the region, to mine roads in Azerbaijan's liberated lands. In the region, there is a serious threat to civilians, including representatives of the media, performing their official duties, and this situation seriously worries us, journalists," the appeal said.
The appeal was signed by Azerbaijani journalists working for Turkish Haber Global, Turkmedia Grup, Real TV, voicepress.com.tr, as well as those working in Russia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Georgia.
Earlier, the Foreign Ministry said that in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, Armenia deliberately and constantly plants mines on Azerbaijani territories, thereby being a major threat to the regional peace, security and cooperation. It added that Yerevan bears all the responsibilities for the civilian Azerbaijanis becoming the victims of mines while performing their duties.
Armenia continues to refuse to provide maps of hundreds of thousands of mines it had planted on the Azerbaijani territories over three decades of occupation.
Azerbaijan has made numerous appeals to international organizations and lodged an intergovernmental complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over Armenia's refusal to provide maps of mines in the formerly occupied territories.
President Ilham Aliyev on April 20 said that Armenia’s refusal to provide mine maps amounts to another war crime committed by Yerevan. He also said that demining of the newly-liberated territories will be the first stage in the process to return Azerbaijani IDPs to their homes.
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