On October 11, the Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and IDPs Fuad Huseynov participated in the 73rd session of the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Fuad Huseynov, speaking on behalf of the government of Azerbaijan, said that 10 percent of the population of Azerbaijan are IDPs and that our country has gained great experience and knowledge in fighting the IDP problem. It was noted that among the priorities of President Ilham Aliyev’s social policy, solving the problems of refugees and IDPs holds an important place, and First Vice-President Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva pays special attention to protecting the rights and interests of persons from this category. It was pointed out that to improve the living conditions of IDPs, 116 settlements have been put into use and more than 320 thousand IDPs have been provided with new living space until now. Despite all the implemented measures, as the UN special rapporteur on the rights of IDPs said, the sustainable solution of the problems was closely related to the political solution of the conflict.
It was noted that despite the decisions and resolutions adopted by international organizations, Armenia kept the territories of Azerbaijan under occupation for nearly 30 years. In September 2020, the brave Azerbaijani army under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev liberated the occupied territories and restored the territorial integrity of our country within its internationally recognized borders. Thus, it became possible for IDPs to return to their homeland voluntarily, safely and with dignity. Currently, there is an honorable task such as ensuring the restoration and sustainable development of the territories freed from occupation, the return and reintegration of the IDPs to their permanent residences before the Azerbaijani state. Security measures are taken, and large-scale infrastructure projects are implemented in the liberated territories. “Smart village” and “smart city” projects are preferred in the reconstruction works carried out in the territories freed from occupation, about 70 families already live in apartments built on the basis of this concept in Aghali village of Zangilan region. It was reported that the Great Return of IDPs was determined as one of the five national priorities of the socio-economic development of Azerbaijan to be achieved by 2030.
At the session, it was brought to attention that Armenia polluted the occupied territories of Azerbaijan with mines and other unexploded military munitions. It was emphasized that according to international experts, this area is considered one of the most mined areas. By refusing to fully hand over accurate mine maps, Armenia grossly violates fundamental human rights, especially the right to life, and at the same time slows down the process of the Great Return of IDPs.
Restoring justice for IDPs is a solid foundation for any long-term peace and stability in the region, and in this respect, ending this protracted conflict means restoring IDPs’ basic fundamental rights. It was emphasized that with the joint efforts of the international community, Azerbaijan will be able to present a new model for post-conflict rehabilitation and reintegration in the next few years.
In response to the speech of the head of the Azerbaijani delegation, the High Commissioner highly appreciated Azerbaijan’s activities in relation to refugees and IDPs and said that UNHCR is ready to make the necessary contribution in connection with the Great Return.