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ICRC conducts over 300 operations to find missing Azerbaijanis

18 February 2022 12:00 (UTC+04:00)
ICRC conducts over 300 operations to find missing Azerbaijanis

By Sabina Mammadli

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) acted as a neutral intermediary in 346 operations to search for and remove human remains in former combat zones.

The ICRC report on the main activities of its Baku and Barda offices in 2021 highlights this.

In order to facilitate future identification of human remains, 793 biological samples were collected from family members of 316 Azerbaijanis who went missing during the First Karabakh War with Armenia in the early 1990s.

Some 347 missing persons' families have received psychosocial support, the report added.

It should be noted that the ICRC has created a DNA database of over 3,000 people using DNA samples collected from the families of missing people.

The fate of Azerbaijani citizens who have been missing for approximately 30 years can be clarified as a result of testing of the remains to be removed from mass graves (based on information provided by Armenia).

On February 8, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stated that humanitarian issues were one of the main topics of a virtual meeting attended by French President Emanuel Macron, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, European Council President Charles Michel and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on February 4.

At the meeting, Aliyev underlined that Armenia had to provide information about the mass graves of 3,890 missing Azerbaijani citizens (including 71 children, 267 women and 326 elderly people). The presidents of France and the European Council both supported this issue.

Armenia, which is responsible for determining the fate of about 4,000 missing Azerbaijani citizens, promised to cooperate in this matter.

However, Armenia's later denial of its international humanitarian obligations, as well as promises made during the abovementioned meeting, is completely outside the moral, ethical, and legal framework in light of Azerbaijan's discovery and return of the bodies of 1,708 Armenian servicemen, the ministry said.

It should be mentioned that in the 20th century, Armenians perpetrated systematic crimes and atrocities against Azerbaijanis to break the spirit of the nation and annihilate the Azerbaijani people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Khojaly genocide is regarded as the culmination of Armenian mass murders.

Some 613 Azerbaijanis, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elders were brutally murdered on the ground of national identity in Khojaly in 1992.

This heinous act was preceded by a slew of others. Armenians set fire to around 20 buildings in the Baghanis-Ayrim village of Gazakh region, killing eight Azerbaijanis. A family of five, including a 39-day-old newborn, were all burnt alive.

Between June and December 1991, Armenian troops murdered 12 and wounded 15 Azerbaijanis in Khojavand region's Garadaghli and Asgaran region's Meshali villages.

Armenian military detachments bombed buses on the Shusha-Jamilli, Aghdam-Khojavand, and Aghdam-Garadaghli routes in August and September of the same year, killing 17 Azerbaijanis and injuring over 90 others.

In October and November 1991, Armenians burned, destroyed, and plundered over 30 settlements in the mountainous area of Karabakh, including Tugh, Imarat-Garvand, Sirkhavand, Meshali, Jamilli, Umudlu, Garadaghli, Karkijahan, and other significant villages.

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