4 October 2021
The Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers this morning met with the National Human Rights Institution of Azerbaijan and with one non-governmental organisation, which briefed the Committee on the implementation in Azerbaijan of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
In its function as the national human rights institution, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of Azerbaijan (Ombudsman) noted that the protection of migrants and their families was part of the responsibilities of the institution. The Ombudsman had contributed to the introduction of measures for their protection, and had carried out awareness-raising activities among government officials. Inspections checked whether relevant recommendations were in place. The Ombudsman also provided support to Azerbaijani emigrants working abroad. Administrative decisions to expel undocumented or stateless foreigners residing in the country were sometimes taken, and the necessary documents were provided to enable them to return to their country of origin. The Ombudsman made proposals for legislative revisions, for example, to improve the legal status of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, and to create special detention centres. Important action had been taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as operating a call centre working in intensive mode. The Ombudsman had also facilitated the return of Azerbaijani migrant workers who were in a difficult situation abroad, mainly in the Russian Federation.
In the discussion that followed, the Office of the Commissioner, responding to questions about the impact of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the implementation of the Convention, explained that it continued assisting people of Armenian origin, including people who were citizens of Azerbaijan. It was also noted that mine-clearing represented a very challenging situation. In response to inquiries about the status of COVID-19 vaccination of migrants in the country, the Committee was assured that migrants and stateless persons had free access to vaccination against COVID-19.
Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial, a non-governmental organisation, focused on the problems facing migrants working abroad in countries which were not party to the Convention, namely in the Russian Federation. Non-governmental cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation in the field of migration was not sufficiently articulated, while there were some bilateral agreements with countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. Collaboration should be improved to improve conditions for migrants, as well as conditions of centers for detainees, which were overcrowded. The situation of Azerbaijani migrant children in the Russian Federation was also of concern, as they were not given equal access to school.
The Committee then held a private meeting with representatives of specialised organisations and agencies of the United Nations.
The Committee will next meet at 3 p.m. this afternoon to examine the third periodic report of Azerbaijan (CMW/C/AZE/3).