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Azerbaijan: Pre-existing situation and impact of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, 21 December 2020

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Fighting broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh on 27 September following months of increasing tension. For more than six weeks, fighting and displacement took place in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas, leading to close to 150 casualties, including 50 civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh and 98 civilian deaths in Azerbaijan (ICG 14/10/2020; Human Rights Ombudsman 9/11/2020; Prosecutor General’s Office 30/11/2020). Furthermore, 2,317 soldiers on the Armenian side were killed (The Guardian 14/11/2020), along with 2,783 soldiers from Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence 03/12/2020). More than 130,000 people were displaced as a result of the conflict, including 90,640 from within Nagorno-Karabakh who arrived in Armenia (IOM 11/12/2020), and approximately 40,000 temporarily displaced in regions close to the line of contact (LoC) on the Azerbaijani side (Republic of Azerbaijan 09/11/2020), the majority of whom had been able to return to their homes by early December (key informant interview 14/12/2020).

A ceasefire agreement was signed between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on 9 November, which – as at mid-December – is still being upheld. According to this agreement, Azerbaijan will control the parts of Nagorno-Karabakh that it seized during the fighting, and will also be transferred control of seven territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh that had previously been controlled by Armenia (Tom de Waal 09/11/2020; Al Jazeera 09/11/2020; BBC 10/11/2020). Armenian forces are required to leave Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories. Ethnic Armenian residents are also vacating the territories that are now under Azerbaijani control (Al Jazeera 15/11/2020; Eurasianet 15/11/2020).

This report presents a comprehensive review of the available primary and secondary data on areas in Azerbaijan affected by the recent Nagorno-Karabakh region as at 15 December. It provides a summary of available information on priority geographic areas and sectors for response, and the main vulnerable groups within the affected population in need of support.