Summer 2000 (8.2)
Refugees Left Out
Note: In February 2000, National Geographic (known for its
monthly publication runs of 10 million copies), included a map
insert showing various regions of the world that have refugees,
asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The map
also highlights specific regions of the world such as East Timor,
Angola, Guatemala and Armenia. No mention is made of Azerbaijan,
even though this small country has close to 1 million refugees
displaced within their own territory (IDPs) as a result from
the war with Armenians.
Photo: Recent map insert into
National Geographic that totally left out any mention of the
nearly 1 million refugees in Azerbaijan.
In the Caspian region, the map highlights Armenia with the following
quote: "Nearly all the 229,000 refugees in Armenia poured
across the border to escape fighting in neighboring Azerbaijan.
Others are from Chechnya and Georgia. Economic stagnation, high
unemployment, and an acute housing shortage have magnified the
Here we publish a letter that one reader wrote to National Geographic
to refute the misinformation in totally ignoring the Azerbaijan
situation where the ratio of refugees to the greater population
is one out of every eight persons, making it one of the highest
refugee ratios in the world.
Dear National Geographic Magazine,
I refer to your map supplement in the February 2000 issue: "Plight
of the Refugees." You state: "229,000 refugees in Armenia
poured across the border to escape fighting in neighboring Azerbaijan."
This information is very incorrect and very misleading. Approximately
20 percent of Azerbaijan is currently occupied by Armenia, a
conflict that could be described overall as suspended just as
your map states, with ongoing peace talks between the presidents
of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Much of the dispute centers around Nagorno-Karabagh, but there
are other very significant factors, such as Russia's interference,
that your view fails to address. Many, many people have lost
their lives - particularly from Azerbaijan. There are hundreds
of thousands of Azeri refugees, many of which have been living
in tents for nearly a decade, displaced from their own lands
in Nagorno-Karabagh and occupied western Azerbaijan. The U.S.
government has sent significant aid to Armenia [more than 1 billion]
while denying Azerbaijan even the most rudimentary aid programs
[because of Section 907 restrictions to the Freedom Support Act
passed in Congress in 1992].
If you require further information on this subject, I would be
happy to provide many sources.
(8.2) Summer 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.
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