By Akbar Mammadov
The rights of 140,000 Azerbaijani children have been violated by Armenia as a result of occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions, a member of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Azerbaijani community, Samir Mammadov has said in a statement issued on International Children’s Day on June 1.
“We regret to say that currently, 140,000 children continue to live as internally-displaced persons [IDPs] in Azerbaijan. The most basic rights of these children were violated by Armenia as a result of the occupation of Azerbaijani territories”, Samir Mammadov who is himself an IDP from occupied Kalbajar said in the statement.
“During the Khojaly genocide committed [in 1992] by the Armenian armed forces against Azerbaijanis, 63 children were killed, 76 children sustained various degrees of bodily injuries and hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani children suffered psychological trauma that they would never forget”, the statement reads.
Mammadov also reminded the murder of 2-year-old Zahra Guliyeva as a result of mines and grenades fired by the Armenian army in 2017.
“As an IDP from the Kalbajar district, I spent my childhood amid the difficulties caused by the humanitarian crisis in Azerbaijan as a result of the Armenian occupation. Homelessness, poverty and hardship seemed normal to me and I thought the whole world lived like this – that no one had a home and everyone's house had been destroyed by Armenians. Over time, I realized that I and thousands of other children, like me, were victims of an unjust war waged against our country. We were expelled from our homeland and our homes were destroyed just because of our ethnicity - because we were Azerbaijanis,” Mammadov noted.
Mammadov underlined the work done by Azerbaijan to solve the problems of IDPs and protect the rights of the IDP children.
"Despite the calls in UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 and many other international documents, we are unable to return to our native lands due to the continuing occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia,” he added.
“As the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, we congratulate all children of the world, regardless of their race, religion and nationality! We wish all children a beautiful life without wars, without hunger and without ethnic cleansing.
"We invite the Armenian community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan to peace and dialogue in order to make the world and our region a safer place for ourselves and future generations. We are confident that Azerbaijani and Armenian children will again go to kindergartens, schools and participate in sports competitions in Karabakh,” the statement reads.
Mammadov reminded that the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh supports the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and continues to work actively for the peaceful coexistence and development of both communities in the region.
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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