Humanitarian situation of the refugees and displaced persons in Armenia and Azerbaijan
1. The Assembly deplores that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which broke out in 1988, has resulted in untold human suffering, leaving thousands dead, tens of thousands wounded and more than one million refugees and displaced persons in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
2. The last figure includes hundreds of thousands who were compelled to leave their homes following threats, reports of atrocities committed, or orders issued by the Soviet authorities before 1991.
3. Following the independence of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1991, their economies have seriously deteriorated. The situation is aggravated by the effects of the conflict and of the economic blockades by neighbouring countries.
4. As a result, the populations of both countries have experienced a serious decrease in living standards, and are facing increasing hardships, including rising unemployment and severe shortages of water, fuel and energy. The United Nations estimates that over one million people in both countries are now living below poverty level.
5. The refugees in particular, and especially those living in inadequate tents in Azerbaijan, are facing extreme hardships through a lack of basic warmth, food and medical support.
6. United Nations programmes have been established in both countries since December 1992. However, their funding is far from adequate to meet the needs of the situation.
7. In addition, United Nations agencies are advising and assisting both governments on the transition to market economies, decentralisation, and the provision of databases for health and education programmes. However, these services, currently conducted from separate headquarters in the countries concerned, including Georgia, are hampered by certain obstacles to co-operation, and their provision may not represent the most efficient deployment of expertise, management, and resources over the long term.
8. The Assembly recalls its Recommendation 1251 (1994) welcoming the ceasefire which came into force on 12 May 1994, calling on all sides to refrain from any hostile act which might prejudice it, and offering to help promote a peace agreement to the best of its abilities, particularly by encouraging dialogue between the parliamentarians from the parties concerned.
9. The Assembly reiterates its calls on the warring parties to organise the earliest possible return home of those refugees who wish to do so, with compensation for those who wish to resettle elsewhere; to respect minority rights; and for an immediate end to the blockades of all means of transport and communication between them and those imposed by Russia and Turkey.
10. The Assembly urges:
10.1. Armenian, Azeri, and Georgian Governments to co-operate to the fullest extent with United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations in the provision of emergency relief and longer term programmes for health, education, rehabilitation, and development;
10.2. the Georgian Government to accept the return and resettlement of the Meskhetian Turks, with United Nations assistance, and calls on the United Nations to give special emphasis to the situation of this particularly vulnerable group;
10.3. the European Union, through its Humanitarian Office, to step up its aid to the vulnerable populations of the southern Caucasus.
11. Finally, the Assembly calls for greater international efforts to help re-establish peace and to improve the humanitarian situation in the Caucasus, and, to this end, encourages the governments and parliaments of
member states to offer their assistance, expertise and co-operation to the region as it emerges from seventy years of isolation.
1. See Doc. 7250, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, rapporteur: Mr Atkinson; and Doc.7266, opinion of the Committee on Relations with European Non-Member Countries, rapporteur: Mr Jeszenszky. Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 15 March 1995.