By Ayya Lmahamad
Baku has slammed serious destructive damages that Armenia has inflicted on Azerbaijan's education infrastructure over 30 years of its aggression and urged Yerevan to investigate respective war crimes by Armenian troops.
On September 9, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry made the remarks in a statement on the International Day to Protect Education from Attacks.
“More than one thousand educational facilities, including kindergartens, were totally destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced children were only able to realize their right to education under the shadow of serious challenges and danger stemming from Armenia’s military aggression,” the statement said.
The ministry underlined that Armenia indiscriminately attacked educational institutions in Azerbaijan, leaving schoolchildren and education personnel under great threat.
Thus, during the last year's 44-day Second Karabakh War, 54 schools were damaged or destroyed, 10 students, aged 6-15 years, were killed and 16 students were injured as a result of Armenia’s grave violations of international humanitarian law norms and deliberate targeting of schools.
Moreover, the ministry emphasized that Azerbaijan, being 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 conflicts.
“As we move forward from the conflict, Azerbaijan is focused on ensuring that all of our children can enjoy their education and reach their potential in safety. We are working to rebuild the damaged schools in the liberated territories,” the statement said.
“As we join the international community in marking September 9 as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, it is important that we do not forget Armenia’s responsibility for war crimes it committed with regard to Azerbaijani schoolchildren and the importance of respecting the right of children to receive an education safely,” the ministry added.
It demanded from Armenia to abide by its international obligations to investigate and prosecute the numerous credible reports of war crimes perpetrated by Armenian forces.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov underlined the importance to not forget Armenia's responsibility for war crimes it committed with regard to Azerbaijani schoolchildren, in the Twitt shared on September 9.
"Today marks the International Day to Protect Education From Attack. It's important that we don't forget Armenia's responsibility for war crimes it committed w/regard to Azerbaijani schoolchildren and importance of respecting the right of children to receive an education safely," the statement reads.
On November 10, 2020, Baku and Yerevan signed a Moscow-brokered deal that brought an end to 44 days of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
On January 11, 2021, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement since the end of the 44-day war. The newly-signed statement aims to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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