On March 9, a sitting, chaired by Azerbaijan’s First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva, took place to address the issues associated with the resettlement of refugee and IDP families temporarily settled in hostels of Baku and Sumgait cities.
First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the meeting:
- Dear sitters.
I welcome each of you to this sitting. Today’s sitting is dedicated to issues concerning refugees and IDPs.
Solution of issues facing our fellow citizens forced out of their homelands have been the focus of attention of the Azerbaijani state for over 20 years. One of the first resolutions that Mister Ilham Aliyev signed in 2004 as president was associated with the State Programme on improving the living conditions of refugees and IDPs and providing them with jobs. Amendments were approved to this Programme in 2007 and 2011. In accordance with the state programme, necessary actions are being implemented to ensure step-by-step solution of social, educational, employment, living and healthcare issues of the refugees and IDPs.
As you know, some 100 modern dwelling complexes were built in regions for refugees and IDPs, and 250 thousand of them were provided with new apartments. 150 schools, 60 medical centres and kindergartens were constructed in these settlements.
Necessary actions are taken also towards providing our fellow citizens with jobs. In the course of the last 13 years, 400 thousand refugees and IDPs were provided with jobs. All tent camps on the country’s territory have already been removed and IDP families living there resettled into newly built settlements. Over 6 billion Manats have been allocated for the implementation of the actions out set out in the State Programme. A series of leading international organizations, including UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) highly appreciated the care shown towards refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan, and called our country as an exemplary country in this sphere.
Although a lot of work has been done, there are still many families that are living in poor conditions, in buildings fallen into emergency condition. Following the President’s instruction, funds are allocated each year from the State Oil Fund to finance construction of new settlements. This year too funds were allocated for this purpose. However, additional and urgent actions should be taken in order to speed up the works in this direction. All refugee and IDP families living in unfit buildings with emergency condition in Baku and Sumgait cities should be resettled into new apartments. Additional funds and a territory should be allocated for this purpose, and construction of the buildings should start soon.
Moreover, apartments should be purchased in new buildings constructed in Baku and Sumgait cities to resettle refugee and IDP families. We aim to provide all refugees and IDPs living in building with emergency condition with new apartments. Now you will be shown a short presentation of the works done in this area.
First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva summed up the meeting:
- I want to once more note, which is obvious to all of us, that we have to join our efforts and work with all our strength to solve this issue once for all, in a short time span. This issue is one of the priority directions in our state’s activity. Although a lot of work has been done to date, there are still problems waiting for their solution. In today’s speeches, we again heard about these issues.
Hajibala muallim touched upon the topic associated with kindergartens. After our big assembly, a lot of work have been carried out in this area. A number of new kindergartens were constructed in Baku city and various districts of the capital. I attend inaugurations. Unfortunately, sometimes the number of children in very modern, nice and comfortable kindergartens is little. Although there is a possibility to admit more children, kindergartens cannot function with all their capacity due to financial problems. Therefore, in order to solve this issue in the near future, a task force should be established between the Finance Ministry and the Baku City Executive Authority, and the issue should soon be solved, whereby we will both save money, i.e. there will be no need to build new kindergartens, and be able to meet part of the requirement.
The primary objective facing us today is to provide four thousand refugee and IDP families with new apartments. We are talking about such families temporarily settled in Baku and Sumgait cities. As I said, we have to build our works in two directions. New apartments, houses should be constructed, and newly constructed buildings should fully comply with quality standards.
The Baku City Executive Authority and Sumgait City Executive Authority should allocate territories. As far as I’m informed, there is such a territory in Sumgait. Necessary infrastructure and utility lines should be built with the state’s support. Of course, all these works require additional funds. These funds should soon be allocated with no delay. Families living in emergency condition, with the gravest condition, should be resettled into new buildings. Moreover, there are new buildings in Baku and Sumgait with unoccupied apartments. Apartments should be purchased in these buildings for refugee and IDP families. Coordination should be established between appropriate state bodies – the Presidential Administration, the State Committee for Refugee and IDP Affairs, the Baku City Executive Authority and Sumgait City Executive Authority. This is our common cause, and necessary steps will be taken soon.
As regards the provision of refugees and IDPs with jobs, as I said, some 400 thousand refugees and IDPs were provided with jobs in the last thirteen years. However, there are still problems in this field. Therefore, district executive authorities should think about this. Proposals may be put forward on establishing small businesses. As you know, following the President’s instruction, large amount of funds were allocated, aiming to remove the unemployment issue, and new jobs were created. People from this stratum of the population should be attracted to work places most.
We all are sure that the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Daghlyg Garabagh conflict will find its just solution. Our country’s territorial integrity will be restored, all IDPs and refugees will return to their homelands. Buildings being constructed, settlements created today to settle them, apartments purchased for them are their temporary addresses. This is how the reality looks like. Today, our objective is to provide these people with normal living places and jobs. I wish each of you successes in this job. Thank you very much.