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Azerbaijan: parliament and ICRC promote rights of missing persons and their families

15-05-2009 News Release 09/161

Baku (ICRC) – The fate of more than 4,500 persons who went missing during the Nagorny Karabakh conflict remains unknown. For the families, this means severe and long-lasting pain.

To lighten the impact of this tragedy, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on the Azerbaijani government to create a comprehensive legal framework protecting the rights of missing persons and their families. " The ICRC encourages the government to introduce legislation on this issue and stands ready to support all efforts that could produce answers for the families, " says Toon Vandenhove, head of the ICRC delegation in Azerbaijan.

At a panel discussion organized jointly by the ICRC and the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijan's parliament) in May this year, the organization presented the participants - members of parliament, representatives of government agencies, international and non-governmental organizations – with a model law on missing persons. It proposed guiding principles for addressing the situation of persons missing as a result of an armed conflict or internal violence.

Milli Majlis Deputy Speaker Bahar Muradova expressed her support for the idea of drafting a domestic law conferring a special legal status on missing persons. " We need a law that is not merely declarative but includes implementation mechanisms, because the families of the missing are waiting for answers from us " , declared Rabiyyat Aslanova, chairwoman of the parliament's human Rights committee.

  For further information, please contact:
  Gulnaz Guliyeva, ICRC Baku, tel: + 99 412 440 62 22
  Claire Kaplun, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 244 64 26
  ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 43