Baku, Azerbaijan, November 18 / Trend
Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Center Head
Azerbaijan considers the problem of existence of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country its problem number one. Currently, all needs of this category of citizens are satisfied by the Government at its own expense.
Owing to the country's economic growth, annual state donations for these purposes also grow. The Government has made IDPs and refugees tax free; approved free-of-charge education for them; provided thousands of families with homes; and helps them find jobs. The third State Program entitled "On Improvement of Living Standards and Increase of Employment of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons" is under implementation; and a program envisioning IDPs' return to homelands has been prepared for implementation.
The UN World Food Organization (WFO) and the Norwegian Refugees Council had been responsible for the full provision of foods to refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan but halted their work in the country in 2008.
In 2012, it is planned to assign 201 million manat from the state budget for the reasons of improvement of social security of refugees and IDPs and ease their payments for housing services. The bigger part of this money will be paid in the form of monthly allowances for foods to refugees. To improve the socioeconomic position of refugees and IDPs, the State Oil Fund next year will assign 110 million manat for the construction of living houses, schools and other necessary infrastructure objects.
The Government of Azerbaijan since 2001 has been implementing projects jointly with the World Bank to develop social infrastructure of refugee and IDP camps and give residents of the camps jobs. The World Bank reports that loans worth a total $107 million and grants worth $2 million were spent for the implementation of these projects, including the third project of improvement of living standards and earnings of IDPs in Azerbaijan. Owing to this money, hundreds of IDP families get a broader access to the infrastructure and services, and improve their living standards and earning abilities.