Spring 1997 (5.1)
The world should know that of
all the countries on earth, Azerbaijan has the highest ratio
of refugees per capita. No other country in the world has such
a great proportion of refugees. Out of Azerbaijan's total population
of 7.5 million people, 1 million are refugees. Nearly one out
of every seven people living in Azerbaijan is a refugee.
They've been living like this for the past four to five years.
It's a great tragedy for us. Therefore, the world community should
understand our plight and act on this knowledge to help us put
an end to it. Refugees cannot continue to live as refugees forever.
They ought to be allowed to return to their homeland - especially
since it is within the boundaries of Azerbaijan, itself.
Before the age of six, this young boy had lost his home twice
due to the Karabakh conflict. On the road between Lachin and
Shusha (1991). Photo. Litvin.
occupy nearly 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory. These
occupied territories ought to be liberated. Of course, the majority
of the refugees' homes and villages, schools and hospitals, towns
and cities in this region have been entirely destroyed - burned,
bombed, ransacked and stripped of their belongings. What awaits
these people when they are able to return to their native land
will not be the most joyous life. Many will have to start over
withnothing in their hands.
Nevertheless, they need to begin.
They need to start this new life in their motherland - in the
lands that they grew up on, as did their parents and grandparents.
We challenge the world community to join us in putting an end
to this disruptive displacement.
Azerbaijanis live with this great hope of returning to their
own lands. It is this consuming hope that enables them to tolerate
the terrible conditions in which they live. They could hardly
endure such strenuous and inhumane conditions without this dream.
Statement by President Aliyev to Azerbaijan International's
Editor, Betty Blair, in the President's office in Baku on February
Self Portraits - Refugees
Take Their Own Photos of their Lives
(1994) and (1997)
Entire issues related to refugees (Spring
94) and (Spring 97)
From Azerbaijan International (5.1) Spring 1997.
© Azerbaijan International 1997. All rights reserved.
Back to Index
AI 5.1 (Spring 1997)
AI Home |