Azeri and Georgian displaced persons meet and exchange experiences
In March 2013, Conciliation Resources organised a study visit for seven Azeri civil society activists and internally displaced persons (IDPs), some from Nagorno-Karabakh, to meet other IDPs in Georgia. The aim of the visit was to share and compare experiences of displacement between the two contexts. Ideas and lessons learnt in relation to working in coalition/networks to foster political participation of displaced persons were also exchanged during the visit.
The study visit was coordinated by a network of Azeri NGOs that are working (although not exclusively) on IDP issues to foster more grassroots activism aimed at addressing the needs and rights of IDPs in Azerbaijan.
During the visit, the Azeri IDPs also met the Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Paata Zaakareishvili. This was followed by a two-hour meeting and questions and answers session with the new IDP minister, David Dalakhvelidze, who is himself an IDP from Abkhazia.
Capacities for grassroots civil society and NGO representation of the interests of Azerbaijani IDPs would benefit from further development. In a sense, the IDP situation in Azerbaijan today is similar to that of IDPs in Georgia 10 years ago. Over the past decade, however, local IDP activists and NGOs in Georgia have created, with the support of Conciliation Resources, an active civil society IDP network. Known as ‘Synergy’, this network addresses the needs of IDPs in their own communities and at local and national political level.
Feedback from visit
On their return to Baku, the Azeri organisers and IDP participants held a de-briefing meeting on the event with the Azeri media. This resulted in several articles appearing in the Azeri press. For Azeri online press reports on the event (in Russian), please see: ‘Azerbaijan share experience with Georgia on improving living conditions of IDPs’ (including a photo series) and the article at Human Rights Azerbaijan.
Additional news reports on the Georgian-Azeri IDP meeting in Tbilisi (in Azeri) are available at the following links: