The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan issued a statement on World Refugee Day.

The statement reads as follows:

“Today marks World Refugee Day, an opportunity to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by displaced communities and honour their strength and courage. This is a particularly meaningful day for Azerbaijan, which has one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world.

Following Armenia’s aggression, up to one million people were forced to flee their homes and leave everything behind. As a result of the 44-day Patriotic War Azerbaijan liberated its territories and restored its territorial integrity, but the large scale devastation and contamination of these areas during decades of military occupation by Armenia is still an impediment to the safe and dignified return of IDP’s to their homes.

The Government of Azerbaijan has already set in motion plans to begin returning these displaced families safely and securely to the liberated territories, including investment to help rebuild the cities that were destroyed during occupation.

The safe and prompt return of displaced communities continues to be slowed by Armenia’s refusal to provide the full map of all minefields laid during the occupation. The recent tragic death of two journalists in Kalbajar is a stark reminder of the danger faced by those tired and emotional families who have not returned home in nearly thirty years.

We are grateful for the fruitful international cooperation of neighbours and partner countries to achieve a safe and dignified return of displaced people. Each road, school, business, the cultural and religious monument being rebuilt is a step closer towards a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future for the region and local communities.

On this day we bring the world’s attention to refugees and internally displaced persons and appeal for global solidarity and support for the safe return of displaced people to their homes”.