UN concludes field mission to Azerbaijan's war-affected regions

15 April 2021 13:18 (UTC+04:00)

By Vafa Ismayilova

The UN Country Team in Azerbaijan has concluded a three-day field mission to the conflict-affected regions of Barda, Aghdam, and Tartar, the UN Office in Azerbaijan has reported.

The mission aimed to monitor ongoing UN programmes and to discuss with local partners the remaining humanitarian needs and challenges in the areas of coordination and implementation of humanitarian activities.

Mission members met heads of local executive authorities and members of communities affected by recent hostilities.

Following the cessation of hostilities, the United Nations in Azerbaijan launched an immediate response to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the affected population temporarily displaced by the conflict. Several UN assessment missions took place in close collaboration with the Azerbaijani government to determine and prioritize urgent needs in the areas of food, shelter, hygiene, mine risk awareness, access to healthcare, psychosocial support and education.

Complementing UN agencies' own resources, the UN OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) released $2million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support the UN humanitarian response.

On April 11, Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmat Hajiyev said that "Aghdam which was entirely ruined and looted as a result of Armenia's 30-years-long vandalism is a clear illustration of urbicide. Aghdam is referred to as the 'Hiroshima of the Caucasus'".

As a result of Armenia's targeted missile attacks on Azerbaijani cities outside of the war zone (Ganja, Barda, Tartar and others), 100 Azerbaijani civilians, including 12 children were killed and over 400 were wounded. International human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also verified the use of banned cluster bombs and rockets by Armenia in its attacks against Azerbaijani cities.

The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed after Armenia launched large-scale attacks on Azerbaijani forces and civilians on September 27. 

The trilateral peace deal signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, ended the 30-year-old conflict between Baku and Yerevan over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region that along with the seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of Armenian armed forces in the war in the 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 is set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.

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