US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Lee Litzenberger said that the United States has provided over $125 million to IDPs in Azerbaijan since 1992 and remains committed to supporting this community in a statement on World Refugee Day.
According to the ambassador, this assistance has included targeted support for children, such as the construction and renovation of schools, capacity-building programs for youth, and English language programs for IDP communities.
Noting that in Azerbaijan, the suffering of persons displaced by conflict and the challenges faced by the internally displaced persons (IDP) community is known all too well to many people, Litzenberger stated that the US is providing humanitarian demining assistance to Azerbaijan to help Azerbaijan’s efforts to bolster human security and enable displaced communities to return to their homes and rebuild their lives safely.
“Last fall when I was in Ganja, I met with an inspirational group of young IDP students who are studying English at an embassy-supported American Corner. Today, on World Refugee Day, I think of them, and their futures. I hope that we can all continue to advocate for the protection and assistance of refugees, internally displaced persons, and communities affected by conflict and disaster,” the statement said.
Further, Litzenberger noted the investment and support of the US to the IDP community in Azerbaijan, adding that such investments have been implemented for over a decade through English language programs and development projects by USAID.
“As the resettlement process unfolds, we continue to support this community, and this work is even more important,” he added.
Later on, the statement emphasized that for the first time in history, the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations, and persecution recently surpassed 100 million.
“This represents more than one percent of the world population. This year alone in Ukraine, the war has displaced eight million in the country and caused more than 6.8 million to flee the country as refugees,” the statement noted.
The United States is the largest single provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide to people in need, including refugees, conflict victims, IDPs, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants, the ambassador stressed. He followed that the US is also a world leader in refugee resettlement, welcoming more than 3.5 million refugees into communities across the country since 1975.
The United States supports the right of all displaced persons, including IDPs and refugees, to return voluntarily to their former places of residence throughout the world, he finalized.
Nearly one million Azerbaijanis were forcibly displaced as a result of the Armenian occupation policy. After the liberation of Azerbaijani territories, IDPs are still unable to return to their homes after the liberation of Azerbaijani territories due to the total destruction of all residential buildings and other social facilities in liberated areas, as well as the danger posed by mines and other explosive devices.
Azerbaijan takes consistent measures to provide social support to vulnerable groups of the population, such as martyrs’ families, war veterans, and war-affected civilians.
Since the end of the 44-day war with Armenia in November 2020, Azerbaijan’s Labor and Social Security Ministry has provided social support to over 30,000 citizens, including members of martyrs’ families, war veterans, and civilians affected by Armenian aggression.
Approximately 10,000 people, including members of martyrs’ families, war veterans, and victims of Armenian terror, received employment assistance, which also includes approximately 6,000 people who participated in the self-employment program.
In addition, during the postwar period, the program of providing housing to the families of martyrs and disabled war veterans was expanded.
By Sabina Mammadli