Fighting has erupted once more over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh which is the subject of an unresolved dispute between Azerbaijan, in which it lies, & its ethnic Armenian majority, backed by neighbouring Armenia.
9 years ago I was assigned by International Alert to photograph in all three countries to capture a series of peace conferences and the borders, as well as a series of portraits which came to be called “Conflict is not the division of land but the division of people”.
The portraits capture faces of different people from different states in the region & vividly represent the human side of conflict, where each individual remains above all a human being with his or her right to be what they are, wherever they live, with dignity and in peace.
In 1988, the break-up of the Soviet Union led to a series of armed conflicts in the South Caucasus, as different nationalities used the opportunity to press for independence. Azerbaijan troops & Armenian secessionists began a bloody war which left the de facto independent state of Nagorno-Karabakh in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994. Over twenty thousand casualties and almost one and a half million refugees created a refugee flow which has resulted in a considerable crisis especially in Azerbaijan, with the number of displaced persons numbering close to one million.