History

Nagorno Karabakh, in the South Caucasus, is locked in a frozen conflict that flared amidst the collapse of the Soviet Union. The conflict began in 1988 and intensified into all-out war between 1992 and 1994. Over 20,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced as a result of the fighting. A ceasefire, agreed in 1994, has held for over two decades, but the lack of a formal end to the war has left the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh isolated.

Landmines were laid across large swathes of land by both Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, and cluster bombs were dropped extensively by the Azerbaijani Air Force. As a result, Karabakh has had one of the world’s highest per capita civilian casualty rates from landmines and other explosive remnants of war.

HALO first began working in Nagorno Karabakh in 1995, carrying out local capacity building until 1996. Since 2000, HALO has been conducting survey, mine clearance, battle area clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, and risk education in Nagorno Karabakh. In 2013 a needs assessment estimated that our humanitarian interventions to date had benefitted approximately 125,000 people, or over 80% of the entire population.

After fighting broke out again briefly in April 2016, HALO conducted emergency clearance of new cluster munition strikes. HALO continues to survey and clear the remaining minefields in order to achieve a mine-impact free status for Nagorno Karabakh.