In connection with the use of persons under the age of 15 by Armenia in military operations, 44 NGOs working for the protection of children’s rights in Azerbaijan addressed an appeal to the Executive Director of UNICEF, the Chairman of the Board of the International Organization for Saving Children, the President of the International Bureau for the Rights of the Child, the President of the SOS International Children’s Villages, the Executive Director of the Child Protection Fund, the President of the Global Fund for Children.

The appeal reads:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We, as NGOs defending children’s rights in Azerbaijan, appeal to you with great concern.

We would like to inform you that as a result of the military aggression launched by Armenia against Azerbaijan on September 27, the situation in the region has reached a very tense level and military operations have been resumed. As a result of a series of rocket attacks by the Armenian armed forces on cities and regions of Azerbaijan, 65 civilians, including 10 children, were killed and more than 300 were injured. Unfortunately, Armenia still commits war crimes.

Grossly violating the norms and principles of all international law, the military and political leadership of Armenia is now committing another crime by involving children under the age of 15 in its military operations against Azerbaijan. You can watch a video of a child involved in military operations under this link (https://youtu.be/e12mWOJPySM).

We would like to note, by involving children under the age of 15 in military operations the Armenian side is grossly violating the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention as well as, the 38th article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the 44th session of the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989. The Convention calls on States Parties to seriously adhere to international humanitarian law relating to children in armed conflict, particularly, prohibits the direct participation of persons under the age of 15 in military operations and calls for all measures to be taken to that end.

However, Armenia’s involvement of children in military operations clearly shows that the occupier country does not respect the principles of any international law and ignores its international obligations.

Therefore, we as the NGOs working for the protection of children’s rights, appeal to you to properly assess Armenia’s actions contrary to international law.

The appeal was undersigned by 44 NGOs.