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Azerbaijan: Permanent danger

22-10-1997 News Release 97/42

In parallel with the worldwide campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines, at the beginning of this year the ICRC delegation in Azerbaijan launched a campaign designed to prevent mine accidents by explaining to people living near the Nagorny Karabakh front line how to avoid injury from these deadly weapons. An initial assessment shows that the project, which is financed by the Swedish Red Cross, has had encouraging results, and there are plans to extend it to other parts of the southern Caucasus.

The programme is aimed primarily at children and farmers, the two groups most exposed to the danger of landmines. So far over 120,000 families in Azerbaijan have been reached during relief distributions by means of leaflets placed in seed packets, printed messages on school exercise books, etc. The local media have also made an active contribution to the campaign.

The limb-fitting centre run with ICRC support in Baku is a source of valuable information for the project. A story book and an animated cartoon are being produced for children, and effective means of reaching farmers are under study. The ICRC delegation is also setting up a network of partners within the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan and other organizations in the country and training them to raise awareness of the problem on a wider scale.