Dear Professor Elmira Suleymanova, Human Rights Commissioner of Azerbaijan,
Dear Mr. Vusal Huseynov, Chairperson of the State Migration Service,
Dear Mr. Sahil Babayev, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population of Azerbaijan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Ombudsperson’s Office and the State Migration Service for organising this important event on Migration Processes in Azerbaijan and Protection of Migrants’ Rights and I welcome all participants of this roundtable discussion.
Today, more than 80 per cent of the world’s migrants move between countries in a safe and orderly fashion.
But there is 20% more that is unregulated and has a terrible toll on human lives as they undertake perilous journeys across deserts, oceans and rivers; at the hands of smugglers, unscrupulous employers and other predators.
Since 2000, more than 60,000 migrants have died on the move. And of course, behind every number is a person – a woman, a child, a man, who simply dream for what any of us dream – opportunity, dignity and a better life.
But whether their movement is voluntary or forced; and whether they are legal or illegal, all human beings must have their human rights respected and their dignity upheld.
Every member and every group must feel valued and belong to the society as a whole. This is the way to counter the current rise in racism and xenophobia.
One of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, target 10.7, calls for States to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies and international co-operation so that inequalities can be reduced.
The Global Compact for Migration which was adopted by over 152 UN member states, including Azerbaijan, serves exactly this purpose.
The Global Compact rests on two simple ideas:
First, migration has always been with us – but in a world where it is ever more inevitable and necessary, it should be well managed and safe, not irregular and dangerous.
Second, national policies are far more likely to succeed with international cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The UN System in Azerbaijan has been successfully cooperating with the Government of Azerbaijan in the field of migration.
With the combined support of IOM and UNDP, the Government of Azerbaijan has improved migration and border management, introducing new e-services, boosting officials’ capacities and adopting European Union best practices.
To be more specific just in 2018:
- UNDP supported the governments of Georgia and Azerbaijan to improve and modernise integrated border management systems at joint customs control checkpoints;
- IOM provided capacity building services to the Government to improve e-services related to migration, training on examination of travel documents, guidelines and policies.
- In addition, IOM, launched information campaign to raise awareness about various aspects of migration and the smooth mobility of people, which targeted the public, diaspora and foreign visitors.
Through the decade, we have witnessed the Government of Azerbaijan brining a great deal of improvement in its migration services including in the legislative and procedural areas using innovative IT solution.
I am confident that Azerbaijan will continue its efforts in bringing the government’s migration policy priorities in line with the international commitments under the Global Compact to ensure full protection of migrant’s rights.
The United Nations System in Azerbaijan stands ready to provide such support to:
- Improve multi-sectoral and integrated approach for policy-making;
- Establish more targeted data and information policy that includes criteria for transparency;
- Improve housing, social security, health care, as well as education and further training of migrants.
- Strengthen protective measures against discrimination and exploitation;
Let’s work together for a safer, less fearful and more prosperous future both for our own societies and for the world’s migrants.
I wish all of you an engaging and fruitful discussions.