THE HALO TRUST; A Ray of Hope in Nagorno Karabakh
Sadly, conflicts are a fact of life! Wars and their weapons follow bringing devastation for generations to come.
As such is the case in Nagorno Karabakh also known as Artsakh; a de facto post-soviet republic located between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Encouraged by Gorbachev doctrines of openness, restructuring, and democratization, known historically as the “glasnost and perestroika”, Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh sought independence, the right of self-determination, and voted to break away from Azerbaijan. The rising hostilities between Armenians and Azeris, followed by the consequent pogroms escalated into a full-blown war between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan.
During the war, Russian made PMN-2 landmines were heavily used for their effectiveness as a deterrent strategy of an advancing battlefield. Twenty two years later, Karabakh is still suffering from these landmines.
What is a PMN-2 Landmine?
PMN-2 are anti-personnel mines that were designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. They are usually small circular devises hidden underneath the ground and triggered by any form of pressure.
These treacherous weapons of war were designed to disable adults but not kill them; however, they are fatal for children. Consequently, Nagorno Karabakh has the highest per-capita incidents of landmine accidents in the world whereby third of the victims are children.
Ray of Hope
Since no governmental funding is available for demining in Nagorno Karabakh, one NGO has stepped up and has been doing an amazing work of demining the Jewel of the Caucasus. Their work is spread all over Nagorno Karabakh, most notable in regions or villages near the line of contact such as Myurishen, Harar and Norashen among others.
Who is THE HALO TRUST?
THE HALO TRUST is a British charitable NGO with a mission to demine the grounds of all conflict zones for good. The organization also plays an increasing role in dealing with the broader debris of war – small arms, IEDs and unexploded ordnance as stated on their website.
To this day, THE HALO TRUST has cleared 88% of Landmines from Cluster Mountains in Nagorno Karabakh. Moreover, their Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team has successfully destroyed a UB-32 Rocket Launcher containing -5 rockets in Hadrut region.
Positive Outcomes of HALO’s Demining Efforts in Nagorno Karabakh
In addition to keeping the Karabakhans safe, demining has improved the economic situation in Nagorno Karabakh. For example, Martakert mine clearance enabled the installation of a gas pipeline that allowed for new businesses to open.
Farmers can herd their cattle and farm their lands without fear from Landmines which reflects positively on their income.
Most importantly, is the effect of demining on transforming Nagorno Karabakh from a war torn republic into a coveted tourist destination.
According to the UK Department for International Development (DfID), 60 million people are at risk of death or injury from land mines globally.
With this horrific number in mind, I do believe demining organizations are important in saving lives and minimizing landmine injuries. However, little is known about this issue or the work of such organizations.
Princess Diana once commented “The world is too little aware of the waste of life, limb and land which anti-personnel landmines are causing among some of the poorest people on earth.”
Therefore, I believe it is a human duty to carry on with her mission and help the vulnerable in a heavily landmined world and this is how YOU can help:
Help can take different forms;
Volunteer with similar organizations.
Help by spreading the word to raise public awareness about this issue by sharing this blog and similar posts about demining in Nagorno Karabakh.
The choice is yours!
Click here for a youtube video “Safe Steps for the People of Karabakh” about the work of HALO TRUST in demining Nagorno Karabakh
Writing & Photography
8th of December, 2017
PS, This blog reflects my personal opinion and my personal take on many issues. Its not a scientific paper, the information used is based on internet searches and some scholarly articles. Its purpose is to entertain and everything mentioned is open for debate and correction. Content & Photos are copyrighted