Participants of international forum appeal to world community
Aghdam, December 7, AZERTAC
On behalf of the participants of the International Forum on “A Healthy Environment and Mine-Free Life for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals” held in Aghdam and Baku, an application was sent to the world community.
AZERTAC present the application: “We, the attendees of the International Forum on "A Healthy Environment and Mine-Free Life for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals," urge the international community from Aghdam, recognized as one of the most heavily mine-contaminated cities globally, to increase their involvement in combating landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Extensive discussions conducted over two days in Baku and Aghdam have once again highlighted the worldwide scope of the issue. Presently, one out of every three countries on the global map suffer from landmine issues.
We support the initiative to elevate humanitarian demining as the 18th Sustainable Development Goal of the UN. The Republic of Azerbaijan has already designated humanitarian demining as a primary national objective.
Azerbaijan ranks among the countries most heavily affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance. Initial data suggests that there are over 1.5 million mines and unexploded ordnance within the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 2020, following the 44-day war, 340 individuals fell victim to mines in the newly liberated territories. Of this total, 65 lost their lives, while 275 sustained injuries of varying severity. Among the injured count, there were 9 children and young adults, along with 2 woman. The cumulative count of mine victims in Azerbaijan since 1991 stands at 3419.
The violated human rights of individuals injured by landmines must never be disregarded under any circumstances. The right to life is among the most innate and fundamental human rights. Presently, the landmine issue stands as the primary obstacle to the reconstruction and restoration efforts in Karabakh and East Zangezur, hindering the safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons to their homes.
At present, Azerbaijan is undertaking extensive humanitarian demining operations on a significant scale. Cleaning efforts have rapidly covered a large area. It is commendable that women's minesweeper groups are also involved in the process. The expertise gained by the Republic of Azerbaijan in humanitarian demining activities could prove valuable for other nations grappling with the scourge of mine terrorism.
We call upon the global community and civil societies to provide widespread public support for recognizing humanitarian demining as the 18th Sustainable Development Goal of the UN.”