By Rashid Shirinov
The Armenian side continues to violate the truce with Azerbaijan, and this hinders the country’s citizens, living near the contact line, from exercising some of their rights.
The remark was made by Azerbaijan’s Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) Elmira Suleymanova at the session of the 5th Baku International Humanitarian Forum on September 30.
“Our problem with the refugees began almost 25 years ago when Armenia occupied our lands,” she said, reminding that the number of refugees and IDPs in the country is close to 1.2 million people.
Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in conflict, which emerged over Armenian territorial claims. Since the 1990s war, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal, but they have not been enforced to this day.
With a population of over 9.6 million, Azerbaijan is among the countries carrying the highest IDP caseload in the world in per capita terms.
Suleymanova emphasized that refugees in Azerbaijan have the same rights and opportunities as other citizens of the country.
She noted that when Azerbaijan began to receive revenue from the sale of hydrocarbons, 10 refugee camps were resettled, and people were provided with new housing. The country has also laws regarding education for refugees, and children of refugees and IDPs receive presidential grants for education, Suleymanova added.
“Nearly 100 appeals regarding Armenia’s violation of the rights of refugees and IDPs living in Azerbaijan were adopted,” she noted. “All of them were submitted to the UN and the Council of Europe. But the answer hasn’t been received yet.”
Suleymanova also reminded that about 80 ethnic minorities live in Azerbaijan and they all have equal rights.
The Baku International Humanitarian Forum is an annual platform for famous representatives of political, scientific and cultural elite of the world community including famous statesmen, Nobel Prize winners in various fields of science and leaders of influential international organizations for holding dialogues, discussions and exchange of views on a wide range of global issues in the interest of all humanity.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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