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Plight of Azerbaijani refugees, IDPs discussed in Rome

24 November 2014 13:20 (UTC+04:00)
Plight of Azerbaijani refugees, IDPs discussed in Rome

By Sara Rajabova

Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and plight of refugees and internally displaced people have been highlighted in Italy’s capital Rome.

A seminar titled “Azerbaijan: rights of IDPs and refugees” has been held at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, AzerTag news agency reported.

Organized by the Azerbaijan-Italy Youth Association, the event was held within the “International Organizations and human rights” course. The seminar aimed to inform the students about the situations of Azerbaijanis who became refugee and IDPs as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The bloody war, which flared up in the late 1980s due to Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor, left without home over a million of civilians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the regions adjoining it, as well as the regions bordering with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Azerbaijanis who were displaced from their homes as result of the brutal war were forced to live in refugee camps, tents and wagons in very difficult conditions.

Manuela Sessa, President of AIGA provided insight into activity of the Association. She said the Association realized joint projects for benefits of youth of both countries. Sessa noted that there was comprehensive condition for educating and employing IDPs and refugees in Azerbaijan.

Vagif Sadigov, Azerbaijani ambassador to Italy delivered a lecture at the University. He provided information about Azerbaijan`s geographic, political, religious and economic position.

Speaking of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Sadigov said 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories had been occupied by Armenian military aggression and more than one million people became refugees and IDPs as a result of the conflict.

As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.

Peace talks brokered by mediators from Russia, France and the U.S. have produced no results so far. Armenia has also not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on its pullout from the neighboring country's territories.

“UN Security Council adopted resolutions on immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan`s occupied lands, as well as international organizations adopted documents on solving the conflict. The negotiations are underway for peaceful settlement of the conflict,” Sadigov added.

He analyzed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the international law, stressing the importance of protecting the rights of the refugees and IDPs.

The diplomat provided an insight into events carried out in Azerbaijan for improvement of the socio-economic plight of IDPs.

Resolving the problems of refugees and IDPs have been the focus of the government's attention since the early days of occupation.

The State Program on improving the living conditions of refugees and IDPs and their employment opportunities approved by a Presidential Decree in 2004 and the Annexes approved by Presidential Decrees in 2007 and 2011 were successfully implemented in 2013.

New settlements were built for IDPs in 2001-2003 by the first funds allocated by the State Oil Fund, which enabled the government to demolish five IDP camps in the Beylagan region in 2003 and provide 1,330 refugee and 5,081 IDP families with new houses.

Azerbaijani government has spent $5.4 billion to tackle the social problems of refugees in the past 20 years. As a result of that, the living conditions of 180,000 refugees and IDPs have been improved.

In 2013, the poverty rate declined from 49 percent to five percent in the country, and from 75 percent to 15 percent among refugees and IDPs.

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