BAKU: UN Expert: "There Will Be No Peaceful Solution In The Nearest


Today, Azerbaijan
April 10 2007

"I am leaving Azerbaijan with a mixed picture," said Walter Kalin,
the UN Secretary-General’s Representative for the Human Rights of
Internally Displaced Persons at the end of his mission to Azerbaijan.

As APA reports, the Representative left with the impression that
their basic needs had been addressed to a significant extent, but
"what we need to do is really to refocus on this situation and take
joint action at the international level to finally reach a peaceful
resolution to the conflict."

Azerbaijan suffers from one of the most serious displacement problems
in the world. Tens of thousands of displaced Azerbaijanis continue
to live in run-down, overcrowded collective shelters with completely
inadequate sanitary facilities. So many people have been displaced for
so long, and "unfortunately it doesn’t look like there will be peaceful
solution to the conflict in the very near future," noted Kalin.

The Representative said he was satisfied that some of the worst camps,
where the displaced had spent over a decade in misery, had finally
been closed, and that more dignified conditions had been constructed
in new settlements. He welcomed the Government’s plan to shut down
the remaining tent camps by the end of the year.

"Although to date, the efforts and achievements of the Government of
Azerbaijan in addressing the problem of internal displacement are
impressive, a number of challenges still lie ahead to improve the
living conditions of the displaced populations," said the UN expert
after visiting Baku, Sumgayit, Bilasuvar, Imishli and Sabirabad from
April 2-6, 2007.

The main challenge now lies in the creation of livelihoods. Jobs
were even more difficult to find than in the rest of the country,
because settlements are often isolated from local markets, and
employment in agriculture was not always an option. For this reason,
Mr. Kalin stressed the importance of continued Government support,
through monthly allowances and subsidies, for the victims of forced

After the visit Mr. Kalin will present a report on his findings
and recommendations to the Human Rights Council and to the General

"This is very important because the situation of the IDPs in Azerbaijan
is no longer in the headlines and many IDPs feel forgotten and
neglected and to a certain extent it’s true," Kalin said.

"I hope the first impact [of my report) will be that the Government
will take up some of my recommendations and that it will get assistance
and support from the international community in implementing these

The displacement in Azerbaijan is linked to the still unsettled dispute
over Nagorno Karabakh region, fifteen years after the conflict with


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