Substantial measures are taken in the direction of protecting migrants’ rights and their integration to the society
Every year December 18 is celebrated as International Migrants Day in the world.
AZERTAC presents the article by the Chief of State Migration Service Firudin Nabiyev regarding this day.
On December 18 1990, UN General Assembly has adopted the “Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families”. This convention has been ratified with the law of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated from December 11, 1998. Since 2000 December 18 is celebrated as International Migrants Day in the world.
Nowadays the regulation of migration processes and protection of migrants’ rights is one of the most pressing problems in the world. Because we have to regretfully mention that the migration occurs today amid a troubling global trend- nationalism, even ultranationalistic policies, populism, economic protectionism and growing anti-migrant sentiment and policies. The present moment is a perplexing one and even a dangerous.
According to the statistical data, there are more than one billion migrants in the world. 250 million of them are international migrants, meaning the ones migrating to other countries and 750 million are the ones migrating within their countries. It is forecasted that in 2030 60 percent of the world population will be dwelled in the cities. The analyses show the increase in migration flows among the developing countries. Moreover the investigations reveal that the majority of international migrants consist of migrant workers. The sum of financial remittances sent by international migrants back to their families in origin countries was estimated USD 601 billion in 2016. This amount is more than twice the total of all foreign aid and is almost as great as all foreign direct investment.
Nowadays the mankind is witnessing the highest levels of forced displacement globally recorded since the Second World War. Today 65.3 million people in total have been forcibly displaced from their homelands and became refugees and IDPs.
Although Europe continues to receive a record number of asylum claims, the vast majority of refugees -approximately 86%- are still hosted by poor or developing countries.
It is true 2016 was an important year in terms of migration from different aspects. The entry of International Organization for Migration to UN structure, adoption of New-York Declaration on migrants and refugees avail us to say that. The New York Declaration embraces the political will of international community in terms of protecting lives and rights of refugees and migrants. Conceptually, the Declaration can be separated into two equal parts. The first part envisages the liabilities of member states which should be immediately fulfilled for protecting migrants’ health, dignity, fundamental human rights and liberties. The second part reflects the intention of member states for launching intergovernmental process that will lead to the global compact to be adopted in 2018 for safe, orderly and regular migration and for refugees separately, The Global compact will be a frame for broader cooperation in the migration sphere. Because vis-à-vis the demographic tensions it is time to demonstrate an approach which is guided with the principles of rule of law, respect to human rights, liberties and dignity towards migration management.
The regulation of migration processes in compliance with international norms and protection of rights of migrants and their family members are the priority for the Republic of Azerbaijan as a masterpiece of the Great Leader Heydar Aliyev which has celebrated the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the independence. Vis-à-vis the ongoing globalization in the world Azerbaijan pursues active migration policy in order to impact on migration processes occurring in the region, to keep the migration flows to the territory of the country under control and to manage and regulate domestic migration processes in accordance with national legislation.
As a reflection of achievements in internal and external policy pursued by the President Ilham Aliyev today all rights and freedoms of foreigners and stateless persons- free movement and settlement, education, engagement in labor activity, acting as an investor and entrepreneur, inviolability of person, inviolability of residence , rest, health protection, freedom of conscience- are completely ensured.
State Migration Service which is going to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its establishment pays special attention to the study of international experience. Thus, in recent years substantial measures have been taken for the purpose of discussing cooperation perspectives in the spheres of developing bilateral and multilateral relations, strengthening the dialogue, carrying out exchange of expertise in migration and its application, regulating migration processes, preventing illegal migration, strengthening the protection of rights of labor migrants, integration of refugees and asylum seekers and etc. The cooperation with the organizations, such as UN and its High Commissioner for Refugees, IOM, European Union, International Center for Migration Policy Development, International Committee of Red Cross, International Labor Organization, Council of Europe, OSCE, and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has been developed.
After the election of the Republic of Azerbaijan as a full member of the Executive Committee of UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2012 the cooperation links between two entities have been expanded. Mutual visits both on senior and expert level displayed high level cooperation.
Through the past period of time the Republic of Azerbaijan has signed agreements with several countries for ensuring the protection of rights of migrants and their family members.
On a bilateral level the cooperation ties between Turkey, France, Montenegro, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Pakistan and other countries in the field of social protection of migrants are expanded, joint projects are implemented, their experience in effective management of migration, legal migration, readmission, voluntary return, as well as, leading and advanced expertise in migration is being studied.
High level cooperation has been established between the Service and IOM which is acting as a major partner of the Republic of Azerbaijan in terms of developing international cooperation in migration sphere. In the framework of this cooperation a number of projects regarding the protection of migrants’ rights, fight against human trafficking, management of readmission and capacity building have been jointly implemented with IOM in Azerbaijan. Presently the Project of “Consolidation of Migration and Border Management Capacities in Azerbaijan” (2014-2017) is being efficiently implemented. One of the works done in the framework of this project was the development and presentation of the software of payment of fines imposed by State Migration Service via “ASANPAY” payment system.
Besides all mentioned, on December 8th of this year the “Cooperation Agreement between State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and International Organization for Migration on Pilot Project on Assistance for the Voluntary Return of Migrants from Azerbaijan” was signed in Geneva. The pilot project aims to offer favorable conditions for the successful return of persons whose asylum applications are rejected and vulnerable migrants who wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. The Director General of IOM William Lacy Swing recalled his visit to our country last year and meeting with the head of the state at the signing ceremony of the Agreement which is of great importance. He once again pointed out the stability and progressive migration management model established in the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, as well as significance attached to multicultural values. The agreement concluded in the framework of assistance to voluntary return was assessed as a reflection of mutual trust and confidence.
Of course, the realization of international and regional projects in the spheres of energy and transport, existing socio-political and economic stability in the country, creation of favorable condition in the sphere of entrepreneurship, rapid economic development are main factors affecting flow of foreigners to our country. Furthermore, high level tolerance in our country should be noted as a factor affecting migration processes with no less significance. Therefore it should be emphasized that no violation of rights regarding migrants on national, ethnic and religious ground has been recorded so far. However we had expressed our deep concern related with increased Islamophobia trends and efforts to equalize Islam religion with violation and terrorism in the background of refugee and migrant influx at high-level Summit of UN General Assembly on “Addressing large movements of refugees and migrants” held in New-York on September of this year and at the round table on “International action and cooperation on refugees and migrants and issues related to displacement: the way ahead” conducted in the framework of this summit, in Geneva at the 67th session of the Executive Committee of UN High Commissionaire for Refugees and at the meetings with High Commissionaire Filippo Grandi and Director General of IOM William Lacy Swing in the framework of the Session.
Today refugee and IDP problem in the world has reached a critical point. Of course, the hard condition and needs of IDPs should not be left without attention and therefore, general and holistic approach of international community is required in respect to solution of this problem. As a country which has been subject to conflict we fully acknowledge sufferings of refugees and IDPs. As a result of occupation of 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia more than 1 million of Azerbaijanis has been forced from their permanent residences and became IDPs. Unfortunately, 4 resolutions on withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from occupied territories adopted by UN Security Council in 1993 are not implemented. It should be mentioned that implementation of the demand of international community on necessity of giving opportunity to Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs to return to their lands is necessary for overall provision of their rights.
Currently there are 10 million stateless persons in the world. The Republic of Azerbaijan has joined to UNHCR campaign “To end statelessness in 10 years” for the purpose of raising awareness in the sphere of combating statelessness and strengthening cooperation for efficient protection of their rights. Relevant measures in the framework of this campaign are taken in all regions of the country. Thus, consistent and targeted works are efficiently done in direction of eradication of statelessness, raising awareness in the sphere of fight against statelessness, determination of legal status of persons who resides on the territory of the country for a long time and doesn’t hold any documents certifying the affiliation to the citizenship of any country and of documentation.
The truth is that the person who is unaware of his/her rights can easily become a victim of human trafficking. Therefore State Migration Service regularly conducts awareness raising events for enlightening the society, foreigners and stateless persons. The events on the topics dealing with human rights and liberties were held in Goygol, Gobustan, Yevlakh, Lankaran with regard to June 18- Human Rights Day which was established with the Order of the President Ilham Aliyev dated from June 18, 2007. The employees of the Service, heads of local executive authorities, entrepreneurs, representatives of society, foreigners and stateless persons have attended at the large-scale events held on the topics dealing with human rights and liberties. Information about the measures taken by the State Migration Service in terms of managing and regulating migration processes in the Republic of Azerbaijan, protecting rights and liberties of each foreigner arriving in our republic by law, studying international best practices and the novelties made in the legislation was delivered at the events. The measures taken with regard to the elimination of statelessness, the rules for the usage of foreign labor force and the fight against illegal migration were also brought into attention. Awareness raising events were held in Mingachevir, Aghjabedi, Zardab, Aghdash, Ujar, Aghdam, Zagatala, Gakh, Gabala, Balakan, Samukh, Shamkir, Naftalan, Dashkasan, Gadabay, Tovuz, Sabirabad, Saatli, Beylaqan, Fuzuli, Imishli, Khachmaz, Shabran, Gusar, Khudat, Siyazan, Guba, Bilasuvar, Jalilabad, Yardimli, Kurdamir and Aghsu districts which are included to the service areas of the regional departments of State Migration Service. In Mingachevir, Zagatala, Balakan, Gakh, Gusar, Aghjabedi, Zardab, Shamkir and Imishli the mobile services were also rendered.
“Open door day” was organized for foreigners and stateless persons, public and media representatives in Salyan and Neftchala cities in accordance with the implementation of “National Action Plan for promotion of Open Government in 2016-2018”.
The adaptation of foreign children to the local environment, their education, the issues arising from the legislation with regard to increasing the attention to children and improving the situation for ensuring children rights were also kept at the center of attention by the Service.
In terms of raising awareness of foreigners and stateless persons the State Migration Service pays special attention to the publication of regular articles in media and different information agencies containing the information about the activities of the Service and migration procedures, production and broadcasting of programs, video materials and movies in TV channels. Besides that 11 “video instructions” have been prepared and presented to the users regarding online services which are rendered by SMS and was integrated to E-Government portal. In general, considering the importance of rendering online services for people in terms of increasing the transparency in the activities of government authorities and elimination of cases leading to the corruption the SMS has ensured online services. Today the complex measures directed to the implementation and development of strategy of information-communication technologies, preparation of new reporting subsystem software and establishment of databases are continued in the Service. The extent of online services is being enlarged in accordance with the strategy determined by the head of state.
It is a result of care and attention of the respected President Ilham Aliyev that, Azerbaijan managed to establish successful migration management model. The representatives of international organizations, relevant authorities of different countries have repeatedly highlighted this fact. Each employee of the State Migration Service aims to meet all of these expectations.
II rank state migration service counselor
Chief of State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan