By Rashid Shirinov
The protection and promotion of human rights among the priorities of Azerbaijan's state policy, said Mahmud Mammadguliyev, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister.
Mammadguliyev made the remark while addressing a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, according to the Council's official website.
Highlighting that legislative and juridical authorities have undertaken relevant steps in this regard, he said Azerbaijan attached particular importance to cooperation with the Human Rights Council.
"Azerbaijan closely cooperated with the United Nations human rights treaty bodies, regularly submitting reports on measures taken to implement the rights and freedoms stipulated in the relevant international instruments," said the deputy minister.
Mammadguliyev further added Azerbaijan also attached importance to the mechanism of the Universal Periodic Review, to which it had voluntarily submitted a mid-term report.
"Growing intolerance was one of the negative trends of the contemporary world. Azerbaijan, located at the crossroads of the East and the West, acted as an intercultural bridge between civilizations,” he said.
The 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) had taken place in Baku recently, adopting the Baku Declaration, which would serve as a guideline for states and international organizations in the promotion of intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism, the deputy minister reminded.
Mammadguliyev added that the establishment and successful functioning of the State Agency for Services to Citizens and Social Innovations (ASAN) allowed to promote good governance and fight against corruption.
The official also spoke about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that the ongoing armed conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan had included ethnic cleansing by Armenia of more than one million Azerbaijanis living in those occupied territories.
"As a result, Azerbaijan hosted one of the largest communities of internally displaced persons and refugees in the world per capita," he noted, further adding that the conflict could be resolved only by ensuring full respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders.
The Human Rights Council and its special mechanisms should play an increased role in the restoration of the violated human rights of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons, said the deputy minister.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.
Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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