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Azerbaijan has repeatedly used widely banned cluster munitions in residential areas in Nagorno-Karabakh [(Artsakh)], Human Rights Watch said Friday.

During an on-site investigation in Nagorno-Karabakh this month, Human Rights Watch documented four incidents in which Azerbaijan used cluster munitions.

“The continued use of cluster munitions – particularly in populated areas – shows flagrant disregard for the safety of civilians,” said Stephen Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Cluster munitions should never be used by anyone under any circumstances, much less in cities, due to the foreseeable and unacceptable harm to civilians.”

The Human Rights Watch is investigating whether all sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict adhere to international humanitarian law, which requires armed forces to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objects and civilian objects, at all times. As such, indiscriminate attacks are prohibited, including attacks which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific legitimate military target. Human Rights Watch has made repeated requests to the Azerbaijani government for access to conduct on-site investigations, but access has not yet been granted.

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