Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Editor's Note

By Oliver Bullough, Caucasus Editor (CRS No. 497, 12-June-09)
The warring sides in Nagorny Karabakh signed their ceasefire just over 15 years ago, freezing a conflict that had displaced half a million Armenians and at least 800,000 Azeris.

In the decade and a half since, no progress has been made over the status of Karabakh, where the Armenian rulers have proclaimed an independent state, nor over the regions of western Azerbaijan occupied by Armenian forces.

The foreign media have largely ignored Karabakh and the plight of the displaced civilians, and it does not even win the column inches that the likes of Abkhazia receive.

As the United Nations refugee agency representative in Azerbaijan warned us in an interview for this special package of stories, abandoning the refugees will make them prey to despair and misery.

IWPR decided to go into the refugees’ homes in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh itself to report on how they were living, what they wanted, and what they expected. There was precious little hope for the future among them, but they had found their own ways to survive.