By Vafa Ismayilova
The Azerbaijani government has established among its top priorities the state care and support for families of servicemen, who got martyred and wounded in a 44-day war with Armenian that saw Azerbaijan liberate its territories from the Armenian occupation.
A series of measures have been taken and continue to be taken as part of the campaign to improve at all levels the social welfare of those who played an exceptional role in winning a total victory in the war over Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent regions.
Some 2,855 servicemen of Azerbaijan's Armed Forces were martyrs in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War that started with Armenia's firing at Azerbaijani civilians and positions. Over 100 Azerbaijani civilians were also killed during the war.
On January 25, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order to improve the social welfare and living conditions of families of soldiers killed and injured during the 2020 Karabakh War.
Under the presidential order, the Labour and Social Protection Ministry was instructed to confirm in coordination with the president and implement a plan of measures to provide the aforesaid people with housing between 2021-25.
The order covers the families of servicemen killed or disabled during the Karabakh war, and also disabled veterans that passed military service at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, who were registered by the local executive authorities from January 1, 2014, to January 1, 2020, as the ones that need housing.
The local executive authorities were instructed to submit to the Labor and Social Protection Ministry information about the persons specified in the order, to allocate land plots for the purposes specified in the order on the basis of the Labor and Social Protection Ministry’s request.
The Cabinet of Ministers was instructed to inform the Azerbaijani president about the work done on the annual basis. Azerbaijan’s Economy Ministry was instructed to take in view in the 2021 state budget and the 2022-2025 state budgets the needed funds for the implementation of the aforesaid plan.
Under another presidential order issued earlier, houses and apartments, intended for the provision of IDPs in Baku, Ganja, Sumgayit, and other cities, will be transferred to the families of the Azerbaijani martyrs.
Within the order, 4,700 apartments were allocated to provide the martyr families. So, these apartments have already been removed from the balance of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs and transferred to the balance of the Labor and Social Protection Ministry. The settlements and residential complexes built in Baku, Sumgayit, Absheron, Samukh, and Lankaran are fully ready for commissioning.
Social support measures
On January 25, the Labor and Social Protection Ministry reported about the nearing completion of the social support payments to family members of the second Karabakh war by the State Social Protection Fund. So far, as part of social support measures, 7,127 family members of 2,783 martyrs received social payments.
A special working group was set up to oversee the payment of these benefits. Moreover, pensions, allowances, social assistance are issued electronically without any application, and martyrs’ families are informed of the appointments.
It should be noted that the ministry is taking measures to provide social support to martyrs’ families, war veterans and civilians affected by the Armenian aggression. As of January 1, presidential pensions for people of this category increased by 66.7 percent. In addition, around 9,100 apartments and private houses and 7,150 cars were provided to this category of citizens so far.
Azerbaijan allocated over AZN 9 million ($5m) to compensate damages to its citizens who suffered from Armenia's aggression during the six-week war over Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Earlier, the government introduced a complex social security system for families of martyrs who died in the battles for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity as well as disabled war veterans.
The social security system includes payment in the amount of AZN 11,000 ($6,470) for heirs of the martyr; as well as insurance payments ranging from AZN 8,800 ($5,176) to AZN 4,400 ($2,588) for disabled war veterans with various disabilities.
Members of martyrs' families and disabled war veterans will also be paid a pension or allowance, depending on the length of service (on average AZN 400 ($235)); labour pension (AZN 55-110 ($32-64)); a monthly Presidential Stipend (AZN 210-300 ($123-176)).
The social security system also includes exemption from school fees for children from the families of martyrs and disabled war veterans, as well as themselves, and other healthcare-related fees.
In early December, 2020, Azerbaijan set up a foundation to help families of soldiers killed and injured during 2020 Karabakh War. The foundation titled YASHAT was set up upon President Ilham Aliyev’s decree to ensure a transparent, efficient and accessible platform for additional support (financial and other support measures) implemented by the state to families of soldiers.
The newly-established foundation’s support covers the families of servicemen killed or disabled during the war and also the families of employees of state bodies (institutions) who became disabled or lost their lives while serving in the liberated lands or while removing the consequences of military operations in the liberated lands.
In early January, Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations (ASAN Service) Ulvi Mehdiyev stated that as of January 8 the YASHAT Foundation allocated AZN 920,072.14 ($541,218.9) to meet the needs of martyr families and family members of disabled people.
According to Mehdiyev, the medical equipment intended for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities worth AZN 47,200 ($27,760) was purchased at the expense of the YASHAT Foundation.
"This equipment was purchased given the recommendations of doctors. It allows to checkup 35-40 disabled persons per day," he added.
To recap, the foundation receives donations made through voluntary financial assistance provided by Azerbaijani citizens, Azerbaijanis living abroad, other individuals and legal entities, as well as other sources not prohibited by law.
The 44-day war ended with the Russian brokered peace deal signed on November 10 by Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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