A year after intense fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory is still so heavily laced with mines and unexploded weaponry that it could take more than 10 years to be fully cleared.
Over the past year, thousands of munitions have been removed but de-mining agencies say a lack of resources and insufficient information are complicating the clean-up operation.
The government of Azerbaijan announced it removed tens of thousands of mines off the country’s liberated territories under a demining action plan adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers to return hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis.
The government estimates that there are more than one million land mines in the ground right now, mainly in Tartar, Agdam, Shusha, Khojawand, Fuzuli, Qabadli, Gabriel and Zangilan.
According to official data, more than 50,000 hectares were cleared and nearly 67,000 mines were removed so far.
Humanitarian groups are working alongside the government-run Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) to raise awareness about the mine danger.
The use of anti-personnel mines is a violation of the international law, but Armenia did not sign the 1997 Mine Ban Convention to eliminate their use.
Therefore, we call on the international community to make more efforts to eliminate all landmine use worldwide.