Thousands of families were forced out when violence first erupted, relocating predominantly in the capital of Baku.
However, since Azerbaijan regained control over much of the area in the last year, there are plans in place to help families that wish to resettle in their hometowns.
The conflict resulted in the Armenian occupation of Nagorno – Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan. As a disturbing reminder of the war, landmines laid during the war remain a problem for civilians.
In April 2019, Mine Mark had its first pilot project in Azerbaijan. During the visit, Mine Mark Team held several meetings with Azerbaijani state bodies. During these meetings, Team exchanged views on issues of mutual interest and future prospects for cooperation with Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action, State Committee on Diaspora’s Affairs, the State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, and Azerbaijani Chapter of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
The Mine Mark Team met with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) settled in the Masazir settlement of Absheron region. They left their homes during the 1990s due to the Nagorno-Karabagh war. Mine Mark Team got acquainted with their living conditions and engaged with secondary school pupils through educational materials created and provided by the Mine Mark Foundation.
Furthermore the Mine Mark Team visited the village of Jojuq Mehjanli located in the Jabrayil region. Jojuq Merjanli is a special place in Azerbaijan as it was occupied during the 1993 during the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, before being liberated in 2016. The village is the 96th residential area built for refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan, and the first settlement to welcome IDPs back to their homeland. This village was also heavily contaminated by landmines. During a meeting with pupils at the secondary school, named after Novruz Aslanov, detailed information on mine safety was provided and various educational games were played with the children. Mine Mark’s heroes and games made a great impression on the pupils.
The project implementation in Azerbaijan demonstrated that there is an urgent need for updated Explosive Ordnance Risk Education that is also tailored to the specific needs of each target group. Mine Mark is planning to educate more children in different regions in Azerbaijan that are contaminated with landmines.
In January 2021, within the framework of cooperation between Mine Mark and the Mine Action Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (ANAMA), an awareness-raising project was implemented in Azerbaijan to inform about the dangers associated with explosive remnants of war. Jointly with our local partner, we printed and submitted 3,250 brochures, 1,500 posters and 3,010 stickers.
ANAMA helped us deliver educational materials to the residents of the districts and villages exposed to the dangers of mines and unexploded ordnances and provided relevant recommendations to local communities on safe behaviour. Currently, the posters are displayed in Goranboy, Goygol, Khojaly refugee settlement, Kalbajar refugee settlement, Tovuz, Gazakh, and Agstafa districts.