Staff members of Ombudsman Office participated in an online international event dedicated to the World Refugee Day

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) organized an international webinar titled "Protecting the right to protection in the period of COVID-19" dedicated to June 20, World Refugee Day. The event was held with more than 70 participants and brought together representatives of ICMPD in Azerbaijan, also ICMPD’s Regional Portfolio Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Violeta Wagner, ICMPD Project Officer, Xenia Philipenko, ICMPD National Project Officer in Georgia, Tamar Kikvidze, also the Associate Professor of European Union and International Law, Galina Cornelisse, the Professor of European Law, specialisation Area of Freedom, Security and Justice at the Europa Institute of Leiden Law School, Jorrit Rijpma, UNHCR representative in Georgia, Kemlin Furley, as well as international experts.

G.Cornellisse and J. Rijpma delivered reports related to the topic "Asylum and COVID-19: balancing between protecting public health and safeguarding the right for asylum under the International and European law". They delivered lectures stressing severe conditions faced by vulnerable groups of population, including refugees, IDPs, migrants, asylum seekers in times of COVID-19 pandemic and economic challenges, restrictions on freedom of movement, the problems arising out of that, new approaches and solutions existing in legal sphere.

Staff members of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Turan Jahangirova and Shabnam Gambarova also participated in the event and made speeches. They have greeted the participants on behalf of the Ombudsman of
Azerbaijan, Sabina Aliyeva, and mentioned that the problem of refugees and IDPs is a priority issue in Azerbaijan. This was also noted that more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugee and IDPs, consequently, almost all their fundamental rights were grossly violated as a result of ethnic cleansing policy and occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia. It was also mentioned that the Commissioner always attaches importance to the problems and needs of refugee and internally displaced families, organizes relevant large-scale awareness-raising events in the capital Baku and regions. They have reported that information is communicated through media to the public for enhancing social responsibility during the ongoing pandemic. They also provided information about the activities carried out for the promotion of participants of migration processes, international cooperation issues in this regard. The participants of the event were also informed about constant consultations and exchange of views conducted with IOM, EU, UNHCR, ICMPD and other international organizations, as well as the Ombudsman’s activities coordinated with different state bodies, namely with State Migration Service.

The panelists of the event extended thanks to the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan for the active participation in the “Support to the Implementation of the Mobility Partnership with Azerbaijan (MOBILAZE)”, International Summer School on Migration, Migration Studies Weekends and document security training of trainers, as well as and proposals put forward. Moreover, they invited to share the Azerbaijani Ombudsman’s practice regarding monitoring the situation of foreigners kept in detention centers of illegal migrants.