«The right of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return is one of the basic and very important rights,» said Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, responding to the question by the member of the Azerbaijani delegation Ganira Pashayeva.
«Basic rights of Azerbaijanis who became refugees and IDPs as a result of Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories have been violated. More than 15 years, these persons can not return to their homeland and they are asking for help from the Council of Europe to return home. CoE can not take such steps that these people are finally able to return to their native lands. So, Armenia has been continuing violating their rights for more than 15 years,» he said.
«The right of people to return is one of the basic and very important rights, and in any case, efforts should be made to obtain these rights. I regret to say that the attitude towards the people who are waiting to return their homes must be sensitive and they should be provided the necessary care. During my visit to Azerbaijan, I have repeatedly noticed this care and felt positive changes in this regard. But the question of internally displaced persons — their returning remains on the agenda. It is regrettable that this issue has become not a question in the field of human rights, but a political issue. I really want a fundamental solution to this problem. But as I noted, the solution of this political issue is in the hands of the OSCE Minsk Group, and the possibility of the Human Rights Commissariat of the Council of Europe to have any pressure in this matter is very weak and its real powers are limited. We hope that this issue will soon be solved and justice will prevail with respect to these people,» said the Commissioner in his reply.