By Vugar Khalilov
An international fact-finding mission is visiting Azerbaijan to study the facts of Armenian vandalism committed in Azerbaijani territories liberated from occupation in the last year's war, Human Rights Commissioner Sabina Aliyeva told local media on September 15.
"Within the framework of this visit, a trip is planned to the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, at the end of which a declaration will be adopted. So far, a lot has been done regarding the facts of the war crimes of Armenia against Azerbaijan, the destruction of cultural monuments, environmental terror, to bring the military-political leadership of Armenia to justice and pay compensation," Aliyeva said.
Representatives of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Ombudsmen Association led by Turkish Chief Ombudsman Sheref Malkoc are in Baku to visit and study war crimes committed by Armenia in the formerly occupied Azerbaijani lands.
Malkoc said that Armenia polluted most of the formerly occupied territories with mines and has not submitted the mine maps to Azerbaijan.
"We will work to provide mine maps so that people do not die in those areas. We hope that after being worked out, the [relevant] OIC report will have an impact on this issue. We will send the report to the UN and international human rights organizations,” he said.
As a part of the visit, the delegation members met Speaker Sahiba Gafarova and discussed details of the fact-finding mission's trip to the liberated territories and the monitoring of Armenia's vandalism acts against cultural and historical monuments.
At the meeting with Mine Action Agency Chairman Vugar Suleymanov, the rights commissioners focused on the abovementioned agenda.
Suleyanov said that 2,843 people were killed or injured as a result of landmines planted by Armenia from 1992 to September 27, 2020. Some 522 of them were servicemen and 2,321 were civilians. About half of the victims (1,357 people) were injured in mine explosions during the period of ceasefire.
He added that despite the trilateral peace deal signed by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia in 2020, Armenia avoids submitting mine maps, which poses a huge threat to human lives and health in the liberated lands.
Armenia deliberately and constantly planted mines on Azerbaijani territories, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, thereby being a major threat to regional peace, security and cooperation.
Some 160 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured in the explosion of mines planted by Armenians in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied regions since the end of the war in autumn 2020 that saw Azerbaijan liberate most of its territories in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in formerly-occupied Aghdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to Azerbaijan maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan regions.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered peace agreement on November 10, 2020, to end 44 days of fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
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