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Nagorno-Karabakh: Ethnic Conflict and Territorial Dispute



  Oct 03, 2023

Nagorno-Karabakh: A Land of Ethnic Conflict and Territorial Dispute


Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, located within the borders of Azerbaijan. However, it has a predominantly Armenian population and has been a source of ethnic and territorial conflict for decades. Here are some key characteristics of Nagorno-Karabakh:
 
Ethnic Composition: Nagorno-Karabakh has a majority Armenian population, with historical ties to Armenia. The region is home to ethnic Armenians who have lived there for generations.
 
Historical Conflict: The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has its roots in the early 20th century but escalated into a full-scale war in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This war resulted in significant loss of life and displacement of people.
 
De Facto Independence: Following the war, Nagorno-Karabakh declared de facto independence, establishing its own government and military. However, it is not internationally recognized as an independent state.
 
International Dispute: The status of Nagorno-Karabakh remains a subject of international dispute. Azerbaijan claims sovereignty over the region, while Armenia supports the self-determination of the Armenian-majority population.
 
Ceasefire Agreements: Several ceasefire agreements have been brokered over the years, but the conflict has remained unresolved. The most recent significant outbreak of violence occurred in 2023, leading to a ceasefire brokered by Russia.
 
Territorial Changes: The conflict has resulted in territorial changes, with some surrounding areas also under the control of Armenian forces. This has led to shifting borders and ongoing tensions.
 
Humanitarian Impact: The conflict has had a profound humanitarian impact, including the displacement of people, loss of life, and destruction of infrastructure.
 
Nagorno-Karabakh remains a contentious and sensitive issue in the South Caucasus, with periodic flare-ups of violence and diplomatic efforts to find a lasting resolution to the conflict.
 
In the current context, following Azerbaijan's military takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh, nearly the entire population of the breakaway territory, estimated at 1,20,000 people, has fled. This has resulted in a sudden and significant exodus of people from the region. Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of conducting ethnic cleansing, while Baku denies this claim and urges Armenian residents to stay and reintegrate into Azerbaijan. In response to the crisis, the United Nations is sending a mission to Nagorno-Karabakh to assess humanitarian needs, marking the first time the international body has had access to the region in about 30 years.
 
This situation raises issues such as the displacement of a large population, allegations of ethnic cleansing, and the potential for long-term demographic changes in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The role of the United Nations in assessing humanitarian needs highlights the urgency of the situation and the need for international intervention.


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