Azerbaijan: ICRC activities 2006
31-12-2006 Operational Update
In 2006 the ICRC focused on the issue of missing persons and those detained in relation to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict. It also continued to support the authorities in trying to bring prison tuberculosis under control, to promote international humanitarian law among authorities, armed forces, universities and schools, and to cooperate with the Azerbaijani Red Crescent Society.
Uncertainty about the fate of their loved ones is a harsh reality for countless families in the region. Therefore, the ICRC maintains its efforts to support parties to the conflict fulfil their obligation under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to establish mechanisms to deal comprehensively with this issue.
In 2006, The ICRC continued to update its list of persons missing in relation to the Nagorny Karabakh (NK) conflict, which is made on the basis of tracing requests opened by family members.
To date, this list contains 4,215 names of military and civilians.
In the near future, the ICRC and the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society (AzRCS) are planning to step up this activity by gathering more comprehensive information on missing people. The ICRC also works in close cooperation with the relevant authorities.
ICRC delegates have continued to visit people detained in connection with the NK conflict in order to monitor their situation and to assess conditions of detention. With this regard, it is important that the ICRC is notified and allowed to visit all such persons as soon as possible after their det ention.
Since 1992, the ICRC in the region has helped repatriate or transfer 661 military personnel and civilians detained in relation to the NK conflict;
In 2006, the ICRC facilitated the transfer of 6 people.
Based on the agreement signed with the Azerbaijan Government in June 2000, the ICRC carries out visits to all detainees in detention facilities across the country. The institution also visits all places of detention in NK. The aim of these visits is to monitor physical and psychological conditions and the treatment of detainees. The ICRC regularly submits its confidential findings and recommendations to the authorities.
In 2006 in Azerbaijan, including NK, the ICRC carried out 52 visits to 21 detention places.
Tuberculosis in prisons
In 2006, the ICRC continued to support the Ministry of Justice to improve the treatment of those with tuberculosis (TB) in Azerbaijan's penitentiary system. The World Health Organization's DOTS strategy (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) is used to combat TB in prisons. The ICRC also provided technical support to start a pilot project for treatment of patients suffering from multi-drug resistant TB.
To date, over 7,750 TB treatments were provided to the affected detainees, and of them 3,874 treatments have been successfully completed.
Primary health care
The ICRC continued its support to 66 rural health centres with regular donations of essential drugs and various medical items necessary for the proper functioning of primary health care services in NK, which serve about 50,000 civilians. The ICRC also assisted the sanitary epidemiological services with donations of drugs and antiseptics in support of its efforts to fight against various infections.
Physical rehabilitation Services
Since 1995 the ICRC, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population, has rendered technical, training and financial support to national prosthetic-orthotic technicians. At present, these specialists are providing services to all disabled persons who are in need of prosthetic/orthotic aid throughout the country.
In 2006, the ICRC provided the Akhmedly rehabilitation centre and its branches in Ganja and Nakhchivan with materials and components for the production of 650 prosthetic/orthotic appliances.
Implementation and promotion of IHL
In Azerbaijan the ICRC supports the state authorities in efforts to adopt legislative, administrative and practical measures directed at fulfilling their obligations under IHL. In June a round-table on IHL was held in cooperation with the Constitutional Court for 25 judges and officials of the highest judicial bodies and the General Prosecutor's Office. Several Azerbaijani officials participated in IHL conferences held internationally.
The Ministry of Defence and the Internal Troops of Azerbaijan issued orders on implementation and teaching of IHL within their structures in 2005 and 2006 accordingly. The ICRC supports the Azerbaijani authorities in this process by holding IHL training course s in Baku for officers, as well as by providing opportunities for participation in international training courses and competitions.
In 2006, 45 high-ranking officers of the armed forces participated in 3 five-day IHL courses, and 30 high-ranking internal troops officers attended 2 similar courses held in Baku.
The educational programme of the ICRC, launched in 1995, seeks to introduce humanitarian principles and the basics of IHL into the secondary school curriculum of Azerbaijan. With this aim in mind, the ICRC produced textbooks for grades 5 and 6, which are used countrywide. In addition, the basics of IHL are now included into the obligatory curriculum for grades 8, 10 and 11. In NK, the ICRC continued to support the teaching of humanitarian principles and the basics of IHL to schoolchildren.
In 2006, the ICRC together held 45 training courses for 649 literature and history teachers in Azerbaijan, including NK.
Cooperation with leading universities in the country has focused on encouraging and supporting the inclusion of IHL into courses offered by the faculties of law, political sciences and journalism. This subject is already being taught at six universities in Azerbaijan. In 2006, the ICRC:
supported the participation of a team from Baku State University in the Jean Pictet moot-court competition held in March in Serbia;
held in August the first national summer school on IHL for 18 students;
held in November the third national moot-court competition on IHL for 10 teams of 30 students;
supported the participation of a teacher from Azerbaijan University of Languages in the sixth Martens Readings conference held in September in Saint-Petersburg;
held 2-day sessions on IHL for 30 law students of 2 higher educational institutions based in NK.
Cooperation with the Azerbaijani Red Crescent Society
The ICRC in Azerbaijan seeks to improve and strengthen the capacities of the AzRCS in providing humanitarian services to vulnerable people. This includes the promotion of humanitarian principles and the basics of IHL, as well as support to the tracing services of the AzRCS.
The institutions also work together to establish areas for children safe from the danger of mines.
The AzRCS with operational support from the ICRC and financial support from the Norwegian Red Cross created 15 playgrounds for children in 2005 and 10 in 2006.