Statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Azerbaijan on changes in its refugee status determination procedure as of 1 July 2020

01 July 2020, Baku – With reference to arrangements between the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Azerbaijan we announce that we will discontinue conducting our own Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedure with regard to individuals who apply for international protection in Azerbaijan starting from 1 July 2020.  Therefore, persons who will lodge an asylum application on or after 1 July 2020 will have their applications assessed only by the State Migration Service and national courts, but no longer by UNHCR. Similarly, UNHCR will not be issuing Protection Letters to new asylum-seekers who lodge asylum application in Azerbaijan on or after 1 July 2020. This measure will have no negative or retroactive effect in terms of registration or documentation with UNHCR for those asylum-seekers who have applied for asylum in Azerbaijan before 1 July 2020. UNHCR will otherwise continue its regular protection and assistance activities for persons of concern, within the limits of the financial resources at its disposal.

Over the past years, as a result of fruitful cooperation, technical support and capacity development activities, there have been a number of positive developments in the national asylum procedure in line with international standards that further emphasize the Government’s primary role in protecting and securing durable solutions for refugees. However, the process of bringing Azerbaijan’s asylum system in line with international standards is not yet over as additional measures need to be made by the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure adequate protection space in the country for those fleeing conflicts and persecution in other countries. 

UNHCR stands ready to further strengthen existing cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan in the above mentioned areas and will continue its support in tackling problems of people of concern to the organization.

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