SITUATION - Dec. 95 - The disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, torn by five years of war between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, has a serious mine problem. Nagorno Karabakh is a recognised part of Azeri territory, but the majority of
inhabitants are Armenian, and the Azeris occupy only a small parcel of the area. The land mine problem was especially evident in the summer of 1994, when a lull in fighting allowed time for the harvest. At least 10 people were killed and many more injured by exploding mines while working in the fields, reported the Tass News Agency (23 Aug. 94). Mines seriously affect farm work throughout Nagorno Karabakh, reports the territory's Minister of Agriculture. He also told Tass that demining by self-defense units would help increase the arable area by 20%.
In Sep. 95 Halo Trust completed a mine survey of Nagorno Karabakh and decided that the number of estimated land mines in the area was 100,000. Over 30 civilian mine and UXO casualties were registered in the three months that Halo was active in Nagorno Karabakh. Halo estimates that if the population density and the land area are analysed with the number of mines, the degree of infestation is close to that in Afghanistan. Halo has trained six supervisers and 45 deminers from the local population. Halo has surveyed the regions of Martakert and Hadrut (see Location). To date, Halo has destroyed 4 tons of UXO. Halo has also started mine awareness activities through the mass media.
The border area is now considered unsafe for farming because of land mines. In Martakert 130 km of mined roads and 50 sq km of minefields of various densities have been identified. Halo Trust is presently surveying Martuni, Askaran and Shushi. Parts of Mardakert and Martuni districts and the entire Shahumian district are still under Azeri control.
Number of Mines
100,000. Figure provided by Halo Trust.
Hardly any details are available, but
Nagorno Karabakh's Minister of Agriculture was quoted by Tass News Agency
94 as saying that self-defense units were actively demining agricultural land. Halo Tust has trained 45 local civilians to begin
Inhumane Weapons Convention
Moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines