UNHCR welcomes Presidential Decree related to issuance of Convention Travel Documents to Refugees

Mr Guido Ambroso, UNHCR Representative in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 24 October 2018 – UNHCR Azerbaijan welcomes the Presidential decree of 17 October 2018 specifying new technical features for “refugee passports” or Convention Travel Documents to be issued to refugees recognised by the Government of Azerbaijan.

UNHCR Representative Guido Ambroso said that the issuance of the Presidential Decree is a substantial step forward in the promotion of fundamental human rights, in particular freedom of movement for refugees.

“We highly commend the efforts of our governmental counterparts, namely the State Migration Service and the Cabinet of Ministers Office, which have resulted in the signature of this decree by the President of Azerbaijan. Now we are optimistic that expected legislative amendments to introduce a humanitarian status complementary to refugee status will also be approved very soon. These amendments should secure a legal status for all persons in need of international protection,” the Representative said.

The Presidential decree allows the authorities to issue machine readable passports compliant with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation to refugees recognised in Azerbaijan. Although there used to be a legislative basis for issuance of travel documents to refugees, in practice however refugees had never received such documents because they lacked the necessary technical specifications. By obtaining Convention Travel Documents refugees will be able to travel to other countries for various purposes, such as business, education, medical treatment, family visits or even tourism, instead of just being confined in their country of asylum, Azerbaijan.

UNHCR established its presence in Azerbaijan in late 1992 and has been supporting the Government in protecting and assisting over one million refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs in the country. The organisation attempts to ensure that all persons in need of protection enjoy their rights and have an opportunity to contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of the society in Azerbaijan.

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