On 13 June 2016, the Human Rights Council opened its thirty-second regular session in Geneva. Mrs. Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Vice President of Viet Nam, Mr. Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan addressed the Council at the opening session in the capacity of high-level guest speakers.
The Deputy Minister informed the participants that ensuring protection and promotion of human rights has become one of the main priorities of the government’s policy of Azerbaijan. He noted that Azerbaijan attached particular importance to cooperation with the Human Rights Council, and in this context closely cooperates with the United Nations human rights treaty bodies, regularly submitting reports on measures taken to implement the rights and freedoms stipulated in the relevant international instruments.
Speaking about the ongoing armed conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev stated that military aggression and ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia had resulted in mass violations of human rights and freedoms of more than one million Azerbaijanis who had become internally displaced persons and refugees. He noted that the conflict has to be resolved in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions only by ensuring full respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. He underlined the importance of expression of the position by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights with regard to the lack of implementation of human rights commitments undertaken by Armenia, and called on the Human Rights Council and its special mechanisms to play an increased role in the restoration of the violated human rights of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons. In the margins of the Council’s session Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev also met with Mr. Choi Kyong-lim, the President of the Human Rights Council, and Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
On the same day, Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev met with Mr. Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The Deputy Minister and the Executive Secretary discussed the current stage of cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNECE and exchanged views on the prospects of further development of the relations. The Deputy Minister informed Mr. Bach about the largescale energy and transport projects, like the Southern Gas Corridor, East-West and South-North transport corridors, which are implemented by the initiative and with participation of Azerbaijan. Mr. Christian Friis Bach commended active role and engagement of the Government of Azerbaijan in the work of UNECE.
On 14 June, the Deputy Minister Mammad-Guliyev met with Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Mr. Mammad-Guliyev and Mr. Chungong discussed the current state and further enhancement of relations between Azerbaijan and IPU. The Deputy Minister informed the IPU Secretary General about the history of the Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the negotiation process. Emphasizing the importance of relations with Azerbaijan Mr. Chungong expressed his desire to further expand them.
On the same day, Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev met with Mr. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. They noted with satisfaction high level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNHCR and expressed their desire to its further development. On behalf of the Government of Azerbaijan Mr. Mammad-Guliyev invited Mr. Grandi to visit Azerbaijan to find out more about the policy carried out by the Government of Azerbaijan in order to provide better conditions for refugees and internally displaced persons.
On 15 June, Deputy Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev met with Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Mr. Michael Møller. The Deputy Minister provided broad information about the negotiation process on the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and stressed the importance of implementation by Armenia of the resolutions and decisions adopted by many international organisations, including the UN Security Council, demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories. The sides also exchanged their views on the future prospects of Azerbaijan-UN relations, as well as international and regional issues.
On the same day, Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev met with Mr. William Lacy Swing, the Director General of the International Organization of Migration (IOM). The parties commended successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and IOM, and exchanged their views on possible ways to expand the existing relations. The Deputy Minister noted important steps taken by the Government of Azerbaijan in the field of migration regulation. Mr. Wing hailed Azerbaijan’s efforts in the field of migration and expressed his wish for further development of Azerbaijan-IOM cooperation.