TODAY.AZ / Politics

ICRC says 3765 people went missing in Karabakh

25 January 2014 [14:30] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

The Baku office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that 3765 people were registered as missing persons in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Head of the office, Deniz Duran said at a briefing on January 24 that "The State Commission has different criteria: they may rely on different sources of information, not only family members. Therefore, there is a difference between the lists of ICRC and the State Commission. But we are trying to unify the lists through cooperation," Duran said.

She said the organization try to compare the data and at the present 4035 people are registered in the list of state commission.

"Speaking about the frontline communities, we mean the community, whose members live at a distance of three kilometers from the front. Today we have quite a good opportunity to visit these communities," Duran said.

Duran further said in some cases it is necessary to obtain permission to cross the military checkpoints.

"But we continue to address our appeals in this regard and hope that we can carry out humanitarian activities also in those territories," Duran said.

She noted that the establishment of relevant state commissions by Azerbaijan and Armenia shows that the sides are interested in clarifying the fate of the missing people.

"But now, the state commissions of the two states have no direct contacts, ICRC, as a neutral party, mediates between them. We hope that the commissions would directly contact in the future," Duran said.

As for the fate of the missing people, she noted that there is no obvious progress that the families can get information about. "Therefore, we are working towards the preservation of data. We hope that in the future, the sides will conduct exhumations and families will be given information about their loved ones based on the collected information," Duran said.

She added that since the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the ICRC carries out activities in this field and the organization has changed directions of activity in relation to people who suffer from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

ICRC, acting under the international convention, has been operating in the area since 1992 in connection with the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Duran said in recent years, the situation has stabilized in relation to the people suffering from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as the local authorities have established good living conditions for refugees and internally displaced persons.

She noted the ICRC mission is to protect and assist people affected who suffer from the conflict.

Duran said ICRC implements programs in two categories - they are related to the civilians living in areas located close to the frontline, and to the persons whose relatives went missing in the conflict.

She also deplored the frequent ceasefire breaches on the contact line, adding the organization closely follows the tense situation on the frontline, and expressed concern over the human losses.

"We are in contact with the representatives of the communities and government agencies. We intend to visit these territories once the situation becomes stable. Currently, we do not have any representatives in the areas where shootings occur because of safety reasons; we do not have representatives there," Duran said.

Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that had caused a lengthy war in the early 1990s.

The UN Security Council's four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal have not been enforced to this day.

Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France and the US and the OSCE Minsk Group are underway on the basis of a peaceful outline -called Madrid Principle -proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs. The negotiations have been largely fruitless so far.

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