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Azerbaijan, UN mull state of refugees, IDPs

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By Sara Rajabova

Azerbaijan's parliament members and the UN special envoy on human rights discussed the state of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs.

Deputy Speaker of the parliament Bahar Muradova, chair of the parliament`s social policy committee Hadi Rajabli, and chair of the committee on human rights Rabiyyat Aslanova met visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyani on May 19, AzerTag news agency reported.

The two sides discussed the state of over one million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, whose human rights were violated as a result of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the role of international organizations in solving the dispute.

Muradova said Azerbaijan attached great importance to cooperation with the UN and respected its decisions and resolutions.

Referring to the four resolutions of the UN Security Council, she said Armenia had disregarded the documents for more than 20 years.

"I am also one of the Azerbaijanis whose rights were violated, because my home was also destroyed in the occupied lands. Now, I am representing these people at the Azerbaijani Parliament. For many years, we have tried to ensure the restoration of our rights," Muradova said.

She expressed regret that Azerbaijan's efforts had not produced the expected results.

"We would like the UN Security Council to show decisiveness in ensuring the fulfillment of its resolutions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Muradova said.

Beyani, in turn, highlighted the UN's efforts to ensure the resolution of conflicts through peaceful means and solve the problems of IDPs and refugees, and stressed the role of parliaments in settling conflict. The Azerbaijani MPs also criticized the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group that have been mediating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for more than 20 years.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, the Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.

Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France, and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs and dubbed the Madrid Principles. Negotiations have been largely fruitless so far.