Amnesty International has finally taken note of discriminatory treatment of Azeri refugees from Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh by the Azerbaijani government.

In a press release and a study released today, Amnesty International summarizes the state of Azeri refugees as followed:

  • Internally displaced people are restricted by the internal residence registration system to a fixed address in order to receive aid and social services, despite the de jure abolition of this system in the Azerbaijani Constitution. Residence permits in prosperous urban centres are difficult to obtain without the payment of bribes.
  • New settlements for the internally displaced have been constructed in geographically remote, economically unviable and otherwise unsuitable locations, leading to isolation and segregation.
  • The internally displaced have not been consulted on decision-making processes with direct impact on their lives, for example, the location of new settlements built to house them.
  • The internally displaced are consistently encouraged to see their situation as temporary, discouraging them to seek integration or permanent resettlement in another part of the country.

Interestingly, Armenia has long accused Azerbaijan for deliberating worsening the lives of Azeri refugees in order to receive international support and sympathy in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

An Azeri refugee is quoted by Amnesty International as saying, “We are ready to live with the Armenians of Karabakh and we have not forgotten our historical home there. But we won’t see peace for at least ten years, that’s why we want decent living conditions now.”