For almost three decades, the peace talks to resolve the conflict over the Nagorno Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been under way with virtually no tangible progress. The conflict, which started during the last years of USSR and then turned into large scale war between the two newly independent states, Azerbaijan and Armenia, has become one of the most dangerous unresolved conflicts in post-Soviet Europe.
The conflict and subsequent displacement were caused by disagreement over whether Nagorno-Karabakh should be part of Armenia or Azerbaijan, though the region is internationally recognised as the latter’s sovereign territory. The forced displacement of some one million people is a key legacy of the conflict, in which between 20,000 and 30,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives, the ethnic Armenians gained control of the region and occupy Azerbaijani territory outside Karabakh, creating a buffer zone linking Karabakh and Armenia. During the first wave of inter-ethnic clashes between Azeris and Armenians in 1988-1990, at least 235,000 ethnic Armenians fled to Armenia from Azerbaijan, and 250,000 ethnic Azeris were forced to leave Armenia for Azerbaijan. The high-intensity fighting in 1992- 1994 forced over half a million ethnic Azeris from territories in and around Nagorno-Karabakh to flee Armenian advances. There are now about 600,000 registered Azerbaijani IDPs – roughly 40,000 from Nagorno-Karabakh and 560,000 from the surrounding seven occupied districts. Despite such a large-scale displacement crisis, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been largely left out of the global refugee and IDP narratives.
This report focuses only on conditions for those approximately 600,000 IDPs of Azerbaijan, and does not address the plight of the Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan and vice versa who fled the initial violence in the late 1980s. The UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in 1998 defines the general IDPs category as: “Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid, the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights, or natural or human made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.”
 Karabakh is the Russian rendering of an Azeri word meaning ‘black garden’, while Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “mountainous”. Known in the Soviet Union as the Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Region, Nagorno Karabakh was populated by a local Armenian majority within Soviet Azerbaijan. With the onset of political liberalization in the late 1980s, the Armenians of Nagorny Karabakh began to campaign for separation from Azerbaijan and union with Armenia. The conflict escalated into a full-scale war in 1991, ending in 1994 with the de facto secession of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan and causing massive displacement. Nagorny Karabakh exists today as a republic unrecognized by any state. While Armenia itself has never officially recognized the region’s independence, it has become its main financial and military backer.
 Crisis Group reporting, Europe Report N°167, Nagorno-Karabakh: A Plan for Peace, 11 October 2005; and Europe Briefing N°60, Armenia and Azerbaijan: Preventing War, 8 February 2011.
The full text of the report can be downloaded from the file below.Eng – Human Rights Situation of IDPs in Azerbaijan (1) Nov 2 2018