The European Azerbaijan Society Launches Nationwide Poster Campaign in UK Highlighting the Plight of Refugees and IDPs

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On the 21st anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, The European Azerbaijan Society has launched a poster campaign at railway stations across England and Wales.

Two of the IDPs photographed by Philipp Rathmer

One of the posters, featuring IDPs from Khojaly

It is time to break the deadlock so that these people can return home.

The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) has launched a poster campaign on national railway stations throughout England and Wales.

The campaign is designed to highlight the plight of the 875,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Azerbaijan.

It focuses on the victims of Khojaly, a notorious massacre where 613 civilians were brutally murdered by Armenian armed forces, reinforced by the Soviet Army’s 366th motorised infantry regiment, on 26 February 1992. Taking advantage of the chaos caused by the break-up of the Soviet Union, Armenians invaded Azerbaijani sovereign territory in Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions, and these remain under military occupation to this day.

The campaign features two IDPs, Mahira, who survived the massacre, and ten-year-old Nazrin, whose parents survived the massacre and has lived in a refugee and IDP camp her whole life.

The photographs were taken by award-winning photographer Philipp Rathmer, who visited the camps to capture images of the refugees and IDPs. As well as photographing the victims of conflict, he has also captured celebrities and sports personalities such as Luciano Pavarotti, Jay-Z, Michael Schumacher and Sophia Loren.

The poster invites the British public to sign a Number Ten Petition, calling on the UK Government to help ensure that the refugees and IDPs are able to return to their homes and lands.

TEAS Director Lionel Zetter said:

“The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is sometimes described as a ‘frozen conflict’, and yet exchanges of fire along the ‘contact line’ are a daily occurrence. The refugees and IDPs who are prevented from returning to their homes and lands after more than 20 years are also often overlooked. This poster campaign is an attempt to remind everybody that the conflict is ongoing, and that the victims are still suffering. It is time to break the deadlock so that these people can return home.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

1) The continued Armenian military occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh is in direct contravention of UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884. Talks have been ongoing under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group for more than 20 years, but to date no progress has been made.

2) The Number Ten Petition reads:

On the 26th February Azerbaijan mourns the 21st anniversary of one of the darkest days in its history. On this day in 1992 Armenian armed forces brutally murdered 613 civilian inhabitants of the town of Khojaly in the illegally occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Twenty-one years after this fateful day we remember those who died during events, which led up to the illegal occupation of around 18% of Azerbaijan's sovereign territory, which still continues to this day in direct contravention of four UN Security Council Resolutions. We the undersigned urge the Prime Minister to condemn this shocking act and the continuing Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories, which prevent 875,000 Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons from returning to their homes.

3) Azerbaijan has one of the highest per capita level of refugees and IDPs in the world, according to UN figures:

http://www.unhcr.org/4fd6f87f9.pdf

4) Philipp Rathmer is a German photographer who has spent time working in the US and who has travelled extensively in pursuit of subjects for his photographic art:

http://www.philipprathmer.de/

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