By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Chairman of Azerbaijan's State Committee For Affairs Of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Rovshan Rzayev, Head of the election observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Peter Taylor and analyst Masha Yanushevich discussed the current situation of refugees and IDPs expelled from their homes as a result of the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rzayev met with the foreign guests on February 6, according to the information published on the Committee’s website.
During the meeting, he said that Azerbaijani state shows care and attention to refugees and IDPs.
Rzayev further recalled that Armenia, with its aggressive policy, continues to violate a number of fundamental rights of these people, including suffrage.
He expressed regret over lack of international pressure on this aggressive state, which does not comply with UN resolutions on the unconditional withdrawal of troops from the occupied territories.
Rzayev expressed his hopes that the IDPs will take an active part in the snap parliamentary elections to be held in Azerbaijan on February 9. He also noted that the interference of central and local executive authorities in the election process is impossible.
Touching upon the democratic traditions in Azerbaijan, he reminded that its foundation was laid back in the period of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and during the years of independence, they went the way of further development.
Rzayev informed the guests that he had previously participated in parliamentary elections and was familiar with the practice of political struggle. Now, as a citizen, he praised the democratic environment in elections’ anticipation.
In turn, Taylor thanked for the warm welcome and detailed information and spoke about the activities of his long-term observer mission. He also shared his opinion on the participation of refugees and IDPs in the parliamentary elections.
Taylor focused on the information of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan, and added that internally displaced persons will vote in 500 precincts of 14 constituencies.
He emphasized that OSCE observers will fulfill their mission in these areas.
The parties also discussed other issues of mutual interest during the meeting.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict went down in history as one of the most tragic conflicts of the region, with its consequences seriously affecting the fate of millions of people.
Having started with open territorial claims against Azerbaijan and provocations on ethnic grounds in 1988, the conflict resulted in Armenia’s military occupation of Azerbaijan.
The Armenians, who occupied high positions in the Soviet Union, the leadership of Armenian SSR and the Armenian diaspora abroad embarked on a purposeful campaign to seize the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAR), which was established within Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1923, and annex it to Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic taking the opportunity created by the weakening of the central government of the USSR in the early 1980s.
The forced expulsion of Azerbaijanis from their historical lands began in Gafan region of the Armenian SSR in late 1987.
Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s breakaway region which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. To this day, Armenia has not implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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