On Friday, June 4, two Azerbaijani journalists, Siraj Abishov and Maharram Ibrahimov, and a municipal government official were killed in an Armenian-placed landmine explosion in recently liberated Kalbajar district of Azerbaijan, which was illegally occupied by Armenia from 1993 to 2020.
Armenia has been illegally laying thousands of landmines on Azerbaijani lands since 1991. Despite this breach of international humanitarian law, Armenian lobby has consistently pressured Congress to provide demining funds at the expense of American taxpayers. The funds were reportedly used to demine the Armenia-occupied Karabakh but also for mining of the former line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
Globally, every 22 minutes someone is killed or maimed by an antipersonnel landmine; 500 people each week; 26, 000 people each year; mostly civilians. An antipersonnel landmine cannot tell the difference between the footfall of a soldier and the footstep of a child. Children below 15 years of age make up 30-40% of mine casualties.
In 1996, 15 top retired U.S. generals, including Norman Schwarzkopf, endorsed a ban on antipersonnel landmines.
There are hundreds of thousands of landmines and unexploded ordinances placed by Armenian Army in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has so far been able to demine only about 20,000 landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO).
What is Congress going to do? That depends on how loud we are as grassroots.