Rovshan Rzayev, Chairman of the State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and IDPs, met with Douglas Mercado, Regional Humanitarian Advisor of the Humanitarian Aid Office of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The guest was given detailed information about the situation of more than one million Azerbaijanis forced to live as refugees and displaced persons as a result of Armenia's occupation and deportation policy, as well as the state measures implemented to solve their problems. It was stated that IDPs are always surrounded by the attention and care of the state, and President Ilham Aliyev defined the solution of social problems of IDPs as one of the priority areas of social policy. It was brought to attention that the head of our state pays special attention to the improvement of the living conditions of our compatriots belonging to this category, to the effective organization of their social protection, and purposeful work is carried out in the direction of solving their problems. It was said that the First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva always shows sensitivity and effective support for the solution of their problems, her initiatives in this field are of great importance and evoke a deep sense of satisfaction among the IDPs.
It was noted with satisfaction that international organizations implement projects related to refugees and IDPs and show support since the first years of the conflict.
It was noted that after the end of the occupation of Armenia and the liberation of our territories from occupation in 2020, conditions have been created for refugees and IDPs to return to their homeland voluntarily, safely and with dignity according to the principles of international law. During the surveys conducted among the IDPs, the vast majority of them said that they want to return, but the mining of lands that had no military purpose in the territories of Azerbaijan during the occupation, and Armenia's failure to submit mine maps slow down the process of the Great Return.
Large-scale projects are implemented by the state to make Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur one of the most prosperous areas and to ensure sustainable settlement of IDPs. Based on the “smart city” and “smart village” concepts, new residential areas that meet modern standards are built. To date, 66 families have been relocated to the “smart village” built in Aghali village of Zangilan region, and the next families will be relocated in the near future.
Douglas Mercado, Regional Humanitarian Advisor of the Humanitarian Assistance Office of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), thanked for the warm welcome. He noted that the works carried out by the Azerbaijani state regarding the return of IDPs is commendable. He called it a great tragedy that people preparing to return to their homeland face the threat of mines, and stressed the importance of international organizations' support in eliminating this threat.
During the meeting, support for the employment of IDPs, holding joint events related to women and youth, as well as other issues of mutual interest were discussed.