Amendments to law on refugee status discussed at Azerbaijan`s Cabinet of Ministers 25.10.2017
Amendments to law on refugee status discussed at Azerbaijan`s Cabinet of Ministers
The Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan has hosted a session to discuss what has been done and planned measures relating to inclusion of 'additional guardianship' concept in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On the status of refugees and internally displaced (persons displaced within the country) persons".

Deputy Prime Minister, chair of the State Committee on Refugee and IDPs Issues Ali Hasanov highlighted the agenda of the session. "Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Azerbaijan Furio De Angelis made a request to the government of Azerbaijan on two issues. The first issue envisages preparation and submission to appropriate authorities of a draft Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On approval of description, specification and sample of Certificate and Travel document of the refugee, which are granted to persons who received the status of refugee in the Republic of Azerbaijan. This issue has been agreed with almost all appropriate state bodies. The second issue implies granting a special status – additional guardianship – to those who do not satisfy the definition of a refugee set forth in the 1951 UN Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, but need international guardianship in protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms and provision of shelter. We have the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On the status of refugees and internally displaced (persons displaced within the country) persons". This document was drawn up in 1999 in accordance with the aforementioned Convention. Today we will discuss draft amendments to this law. This issue is being discussed with appropriate bodies. Also under consideration is the issue of increasing the amount of donations to be made to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees next year," said Ali Hasanov.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Azerbaijan Furio De Angelis thanked the government of Azerbaijan for the initiative to increase the amount of annual donations to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He hailed Azerbaijan`s accession to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and development of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On the status of refugees and internally displaced (persons displaced within the country) persons" in accordance with this Convention. Furio De Angelis said 63 people received the refugee status in Azerbaijan under this law.

At the same time under a mandate granted by the UN General Assembly, UNHCR Office in Azerbaijan has granted the status of refugee to a much larger number of people needing international guardianship. These persons, who together with refugees recognized by the government number 1,108 people, left their countries because of wars, wide-spread violence, mass violation of human rights and other reasons, and arrived in Azerbaijan. The government of Azerbaijan has recognized the documents granted to these persons by the UNHCR and taken a tolerant approach to their presence in the country. The UNHCR appreciated this fact and stressed the importance of facilitating inclusion of people of this category in social services, labor market, civil and economic relations. Numerous conventions and international documents relating to the protection of human rights, which the Republic of Azerbaijan joined, require inclusion of 'additional guardianship' concept in the law and legalization of these people`s presence in Azerbaijan. Inclusion of 'additional guardianship' concept in the law will solve this issue and Azerbaijan will fulfill guardianship of the people of this category in accordance with standards and its commitments under the 1951 UN Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

On the Travel document, Furio De Angelis said that he grants refugees the right to get visa to travel to all countries expect for the countries of their origin. As regards description and specification of the certificate granted to refugees, the preparation of this document in the recommended form would help them make a great contribution to society, the country`s economy and satisfy their own demands.

Deputy chair of the State Migration Service Parviz Musayev emphasized the importance of granting the Travel document and refugee Certificate to the people granted the status of refugee. He also noted the significance of making amendments relating to additional guardianship to the law in terms of fulfilling obligations under the 1951 UN Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Parviz Musayev added that it is necessary to take into account state interests during consideration of the issue.

First deputy minister of finance Ilgar Fatizade, deputy minister of labor and social protection of population Ilgar Rahimov, deputy head of the management of humanitarian and social issues of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Seymur Mardaliyev made speeches.

Summing up the session, deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov noted that thanks to President Ilham Aliyev`s enormous efforts, Azerbaijan quickly became an example to other countries. "Not we say this. All countries of the world say that Azerbaijan is an example to countries in all areas – both in building a legal basis and creating conditions for refugees and IDPs, and in developing economic and humanitarian spheres. This is the result of the work, which was started by national leader Heydar Aliyev and which is today being successfully pursued by President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice Presidfent Mehriban Aliyeva. Nowadays Azerbaijan enjoys deep respect on the international scene. This is the result of the head of state`s and First Vice President`s position in the world, and conditions that they created in our country," said Ali Hasanov.

The deputy prime minister recalled his participation in the 68th session of the UNHCR Executive Committee this October, and his meeting with Director-General of United Nations Office at Geneva Michael Moller. "Mr. Moller underlined that Azerbaijan is one of the most active UN members, and that rapid development of our country and decisions aimed at addressing socio-economic issues are an example to many countries."

"I informed Michael Moller of the improvement of living conditions of refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan and work done to ensure overall development of the country," said Ali Hasanov. "He said that although we usually promote the UN experience, after hearing of the Azerbaijani government`s work, I think that we should promote Azerbaijan`s experience of addressing problems of refugees and IDPs and ensuring economic development," said Ali Hasanov.

Participants in the session included representatives of the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Cabinet of Ministers and other relevant state bodies of the republic of Azerbaijan.
 
 
idpsCopyright © 2017
STATE COMMITTEE ON
REFUGEES AND IDPS ISSUES
OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
The address of committee: Baku, Tbilisi Ave., 129
Tel/fax: (99412) 430 09 21, 430 09 25
Email: info@refugee.gov.az