Overview

Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region stretches back to the early 1900s. In 1923, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (with more than 90% ethnic Armenians) was established in Azerbaijan. In 1988, the Nagorno-Karabakh legislature decided to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia. Inter-ethnic clashes followed and escalated into war from 1991-1994, following the region’s declaration of independence.?The fighting claimed around 20,000 lives and displaced over a million people (350,000 on the Armenian side, and 750,000 on the Azeri side). In 1994, Russia brokered a ceasefire which remains in place. By then, Armenia had gained control over Nagorno-Karabakh and further occupied around 20% of the surrounding territory in Azerbaijan. More than 4,500 people went missing during the war. Violence flared again for four days in April 2016, and at least 200 people died.? 

The border between the two countries still remains sealed.? People living in or close to the affected area remain in need of protection, improved access to water, and overall economic stability. Access to education is hampered by insecurity. Families in and around the disputed area face protection risks due to unexploded ordnances (UXO). Significant cluster munition remnants (CMR) have been identified in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Afhdam and Fizuli regions of Azerbaijan.? 

For 2019, INFORM rated Azerbaijan's risk of humanitarian crisis as medium, at 4.7/10.?