International forum participants in Azerbaijan's Aghdam adresses world community
On behalf of the participants of the International Forum "A Healthy Environment and a Mine-Free Life to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals," an appeal to the world community was sent, News.az reports.
"We, the participants of the International Forum "A Healthy Environment and a Mine-Free Life to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals" from Aghdam, one of the world's most mine-infested cities, urge the international community to take a more active role in the fight against mines and unexploded ordnance," the participants said.
Extensive discussions that occurred over two days in Baku and Aghdam once again underlined the problem's worldwide scope. Currently, one-third of the countries on the map are affected by the mine problem.
"We welcome the UN initiative to promote humanitarian demining as the 18th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Azerbaijan has already identified humanitarian demining as a national goal," the participants noted.
Azerbaijan is one of the countries with the highest concentrations of mines and unexploded ordnance. According to early figures, the Republic of Azerbaijan has more than 1.5 million mines and unexploded ordnance.
According to the participants, 338 people were killed by landmines in Azerbaijani territory recovered from Armenian occupation following the 44-day war in 2020. There were 65 fatalities, and 273 people were injured at varying degrees of severity. Nine children and teenagers, as well as one mother, were among the victims. Since 1991, 3,416 people have been killed by landmines in Azerbaijan.
In no case should the violated human rights of mine victims be overlooked. One of the most inherent and fundamental human rights is the right to life. The mine problem is currently the most significant impediment to construction and restoration work in Karabakh and East Zangezur, impeding the safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people to their homes.
Azerbaijan is currently engaged in large-scale humanitarian demining operations. In a short period of time, mine clearing work was completed over a vast area. Women's demining teams were also participating in the process, which was significant. The Republic of Azerbaijan's experience in humanitarian demining can be beneficial to other countries suffering from mine terrorism.
"We urge the international community and civil society to lend broad public support to the effort to designate humanitarian demining as the 18th UN Sustainable Development Goal," the participants concluded.