International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was created in 1863 in Geneva, as a result of the initiative of a man named Henry Dunant, who helped wounded soldiers at the battle of Solferino in 1859 and then lobbied political leaders to take more action to protect war victims. ICRC is one of the three components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (along with the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies).

ICRC's five governing bodies are: Assembly (the supreme governing body of the ICRC), Assembly Council, Office of the President, Directorate and Internal Audit Unit.

The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.

Azerbaijan’s relations with the ICRC

Based on its mandate under the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC has been present in in Azerbaijan since 1992 in connection with the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It focuses on the issue of missing persons and on detainees held for conflict-related or security reasons, and works to protect and assist communities living along the Line of Contact and the international border with Armenia. The ICRC is represented by a delegation in Baku, has sub-delegation in Barda and mission in Khankendi.

It promotes implementation of IHL and its integration into armed and security forces’ training and into academic curricula. The ICRC works in partnership with and aims to help the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan strengthen its capacities.

Helping to resolve the fate of persons missing in relation to the conflict and addressing the needs of their families remains a priority. With local partners, the ICRC provides comprehensive support for the psychosocial needs of families of missing persons.

ICRC assisted the Azerbaijani State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons (CEPOD) in setting up and managing a centralized system for ante-mortem data collected from the families of missing persons, providing technical support throughout the process.

Selected Highlights:

2007

At the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which was held in Geneva on 26-30 November 2007 the Permanent Mission raised the issues of Azerbaijanis who became refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a result of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the destruction of cultural heritage in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society also participated at the event.

2012

Within his working visit to Davos, Switzerland on 26 January 2012 the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger. During the meeting the sides exchanged views on humanitarian cooperation and pointed to the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in matters relating to the prisoners of war, hostages and missing persons.

Member of the ICRC Assembly Yves Sandoz participated at the Second (4-5 October 2012) and Third (31 October – 1 November 2013) Baku International Humanitarian Forums.

2014

Within his visit to Geneva on  30 June  – 4 July 2014 Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Quliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan had a meeting with Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.  They discussed the state of relations and perspectives of future cooperation.

2015

At the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held in Geneva on 8-10 December 2015, the Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the Permanent Mission. During the conference series of issues related to the regulation of international humanitarian law were discussed and 10 resolutions were adopted by consensus. Delegation of Azerbaijan participated at the discussions on different issues raised during the conference, including the discussions on resolutions.

Within his working visit to Geneva on 16-17 December 2015 Mr. Ali Hasanov,  Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs had a meeting with Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the Permanent Mission during the Consultation process on strengthening compliance with IHL (2011 - 2015), co-facilitated by the Government of Switzerland and ICRC.

2016

On 19 April 2016 meeting was held between Amb. Vaqif Sadiqov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva and Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Amb. Sadiqov commended the humanitarian work undertaken by the ICRC to ensure that family contact is maintained between the families and the Azerbaijanis, taken hostage by Armenia, as well as the neutral intermediary role of ICRC in facilitation of the handover, between the sides, of the bodies of those killed during the recent escalation in hostilities in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. President P.Maurer underlined that ICRC regularly keeps an eye on the conditions of the hostages and that efforts are taken to improve the conditions of their detention.

On 4 May 2016 a meeting was held between Mr. Khalaf Khalafov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. During the meeting the sides noted the ICRC’s intermediary role in the handing over of the bodies of those killed in the latest escalation of hostilities along the contact line. Deputy Foreign Minister informed P.Maurer that Armenia, in flagrant violation of the norms and principles of the İnternational Humanitarian Law, Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols, tortured and ill-treated the bodies of the Azerbaijani servicemen. He also underlined the importance of increasing international efforts for the release of Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev taken hostage by Armenia. Peter Maurer stressed that ICRC is regularly visiting Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov and will continue its humanitarian activities in this regard in accordance with its mandate. ICRC president expressed hope for an early political solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the Permanent Mission at the First Formal Meeting of the Intergovernmental Process on Strengthening Respect for International Humanitarian Law held on 28-29 November 2016, as well as at the preparatory informal meetings.

Universal Meeting of National Committees and Similar Bodies on IHL devoted to “Enhancing protection in armed conflict through domestic law and policy” was held in Geneva during 30 November - 2 December 2016 in Geneva. The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the delegation composed of the MFA and Permanent Mission’s representatives.

2017

Within his working visit to Geneva on  27 February  2017 Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Quliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan had a meeting with Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

During the meeting the intermediary role of the ICRC in the return process of the bodies of the Azerbaijani soldiers killed by Armenia was especially emphasized. Referring to the 'Great Return' program, which includes the implementation of all the necessary measures to guarantee the safe and normal life in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, the Deputy Minister briefed ICRC President about the demining and reconstruction of the Jojug Marjanli village, a village of Jabrayil district which was fully liberated from the Armenian occupation in April 2016.

President P.Maurer underlined that ICRC highly appreciates the existing level of cooperation with Azerbaijan and expressed hope that Azerbaijan-ICRC relations will continue to develop. The current state of relations and perspectives of future cooperation were discussed during the meeting.

The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the Permanent Mission at the First Formal Meeting on Strengthening IHL protecting persons deprived of their liberty, held on 6-7 April 2017 as well as during the preparatory informal open-ended discussions. Statement is available at:  http://geneva.mfa.gov.az/news/52/3847

The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the Permanent Mission during the preparatory informal open-ended consultations and meetings for the Second Formal Meeting of the Intergovernmental Process on Strengthening Respect for International Humanitarian Law.

The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the delegation composed of MFA and Permanent Mission’s representatives at the Second Formal of the Intergovernmental Process on Strengthening Respect for International Humanitarian Law, held on 10-12 April 2017 in Geneva. Statement is available at:  http://geneva.mfa.gov.az/news/4/3844

The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by the Permanent Mission at the Third Formal Meeting of the Intergovernmental Process on Strengthening Respect for International Humanitarian Law held on 4-6 December 2017, as well as during the preparatory informal meetings.


                                                                                                                            Updated: 15.02.2018