Azerbaijan + 1 more

IOM Azerbaijan: Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict - Situation Update (08 October 2020)



  • Fiercest clashes since 2016 in and around Nagorno–Karabakh are expected to lead to displacement, as confirmed by initial observations.

  • Both military and civilian casualties confirmed, as well as heavy damage to infrastructure. No publicly available data on numbers of displaced persons as a result of the conflict.

  • IOM stands ready to support with humanitarian assistance to displaced and other conflictaffected populations in the fields where it has experience and capacity to respond, in coordination with governmental, international and local actors.

Situation Overview

In the morning of 27 September 2020, renewed hostilities erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. This is the latest flare up in a conflict that has been ongoing for over thirty years. Since 1994, a truce has been agreed between the parties – nevertheless, there have been outbursts of violence, including fierce clashes in 2016 and a previous flare up in July 2020.

As a result of this conflict since 1991, Azerbaijan has a significant population of internally displaced persons (IDPs), with the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) putting the estimated number of people living in protracted displacement and who have outstanding needs with regards to access to housing at 351,000 as of the end of 2019.1 According to government figures, there are still 652,326 IDPs in the country.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) joins the call of the United Nations on both sides to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law, by ensuring the protection of the civilian population and by preventing damage to essential civilian infrastructure. The UN remains concerned at the consequences of the ongoing armed conflict on civilian lives, as it causes more displacement of the population from the conflict area, as well as interruptions to critical services and livelihoods.

As of 7 October 2020, there is extremely limited information publicly available on the scale of displacement as a result of the conflict escalation. As confirmed by very initial observations, displaced households are expected to seek shelter with relatives either in their respective capitals or other cities nearer the line of contact, with past experience teaching that collective centres in schools and other buildings are a potential stop gap solution in putting a roof over displaced families’ heads.