Spring 1997 (5.1)
Approximately 1 million people in Azerbaijan are refugees who
have been internally displaced as a result of the Karabakh conflict.
Relief agencies often refer to them as "IDPs" instead
of "refugees" because they have relocated to camps
within the borders of Azerbaijan. Regardless of semantics, the
fact remains that nearly one out of every seven Azerbaijanis
has been severely cut off from economic, social and psychological
Undertaking the sustenance and survival of so many needy people
is an immense logistical challenge, but the international community
has played a tremendous role in providing humanitarian assistance
to Azerbaijani refugees since late 1992. Unfortunately, the problem
will not go away quickly. Some relief workers estimate that even
if a peace agreement were signed tomorrow, it would take between
five and 10 years before all the refugees could return to their
homelands. Land mines must be cleared, and most homes must be
The following is a compilation of the major international humanitarian
organizations in Azerbaijan with brief summaries of their involvement
(which don't nearly do justice to the extent and complexity of
their operations). Lately, many of these NGOs are experiencing
"donor fatigue"-as other areas of the world are attracting
greater media attention-and would welcome contributions from
private individuals and corporations. A little can go a long
way in Azerbaijan.
The Adventist Development
and Relief Agency (ADRA) is an independent organization established
by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the specific purposes
of community development and disaster relief. ADRA was one of
the first humanitarian agencies to respond to the crisis in Azerbaijan,
opening its Baku office in September 1993. ADRA employs over
In three years, ADRA has helped more than 300,000 people through
the distribution of 14,500 tons of food, 200,000 items of clothing,
thousands of seed packets, several thousand garden tool sets,
tarpaulins and shoes. More than 40,000 families (210,000 beneficiaries)
in Nakhchivan and in northwest Azerbaijan near Ganja receive
supplemental food every month. Beneficiaries are either those
displaced due to conflict, or those who have limited means for
buying food such as the handicapped, pensioners, female-headed
households and large families.
In addition to food distribution, ADRA helps the people of Azerbaijan
become self-sufficient by growing their own food and establishing
small business enterprises. In 1995, ADRA implemented a UNHCR-funded
Family Garden Project which distributed tools, seeds and portable
greenhouse kits to 504 displaced families in northwest Azerbaijan.
This project had a very high success rate and was expanded in
1996 to 2,000 IDP families (200 in Nakhchivan and 1,800 in northwest
Azerbaijan). In 1997, ADRA hopes to receive funding for a small
enterprise development project which will involve groups of five
displaced families setting up and running small greenhouse businesses.
ADRA's donors are government agencies such as USAID, USDA and
UNHCR, as well as countless private individuals who have given
clothing, cash, time and support.
Contact: Director, 1 / 53 Amirova Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12)
93-73-88; Fax: 98-68-96; e-mail: <email@example.com>;
Web site: <http://www.adra.org>.
(CAD) is a British-based,
nongovernmental organization which undertakes emergency relief
and rehabilitation work in many parts of the world. One of the
fastest growing charities in the UK, CAD has distributed nearly
£43 million worth of aid to over 1 million children in
Established in Azerbaijan in late 1994, CAD focuses on the northwest
and north central areas of the country where some of the highest
concentrations of IDPs make their homes. Their office includes
one international staff member and 37 Azerbaijanis.
The main activities of CAD involve the distribution of food,
clothing, shoes, agricultural tools and seeds. By using locally
manufactured goods, CAD helps to boost the local economy while
providing work for many IDPs.
CAD also supports mother and child health care services such
as health facility repair, health staff training and the education
of women in the areas of prenatal care, nutrition, breast-feeding
and family planning. Hygiene packs which include locally produced
diapers, towels, baby clothes, soap, washing powder and sanitary
napkins are also distributed to vulnerable new mothers who live
in public buildings, temporary shelters, tents and railroad cars.
Additionally, CAD has vastly improved the conditions of six schools
attended by over 1,000 children in Mingachevir. So far, the British
Embassy has funded these renovations which typically cost between
$350-$1,000 apiece. CAD has been approached by several other
schools in need of repairs.
Contact: Country Director, 201 / 37 Suleyman Rahimon Street,
Baku. Tel / Fax: (994-12) 93-19-41; e-mail: <ftc@ftc. baku.az>;
Web site: <http://www.cad.org.uk>.
(Cooperatives for Assistance
and Relief Everywhere) is a nonprofit organization involved in
humanitarian relief and development activities in more than 40
countries around the world. CARE started its full-scale activities
in Azerbaijan at the end of 1993. Since then, CARE has implemented
projects including food distribution, winterization and self-help
shelter construction, all funded by the U.S. government and targeted
toward the IDPs.
CARE has been providing supplementary rations to IDPs since May
1994. Their operational area consists of 13 districts including
in and around Imishli where the concentration of IDPs is the
highest. CARE distributed more than 19,000 metric tons of food
commodities before the end of 1996. Approximately 150,000 people
were covered by CARE projects on a regular basis, representing
close to one-quarter of the IDPs in Azerbaijan. In addition,
they have filled the short-term food needs of 102,500 people
in the northeast and northwest regions of the country. More than
5,500 metric tons of food will be distributed to IDP families
enrolled with CARE by the end of 1997.
During the 1993-95 winters, CARE also distributed more than 27,000
blankets, 65,000 woolen shirts and 48,000 winter items (shirts,
trousers, sleeping bags, mattresses, etc.).
In 1996, CARE provided construction materials to IDPs to build
mud-brick shelters using their own labor. A total of 1,200 shelters
were built, an equal number of pit-latrines were installed, and
600 shelters were repaired. The 1997 phase of this project targets
the construction of 550 shelters and pit-latrines.
Contact: Country Administrator, 6 Mardanov Gardashlari
Street, No. 18 / 20 and 21, 2nd Floor, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 98-57-54
or 98-20-81; Fax: 98-03-71; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hayat is a national,
nonprofit, nongovernmental humanitarian organization founded
in Azerbaijan in June 1994. Hayat's staff is composed mostly
of Azerbaijanis and includes 30 employees and 40 volunteers.
Funding by international donors has increased dramatically over
the past two years from $50,000 in 1995 to $1.5 million in 1997.
Hayat initially focused its relief activities on providing food
and non-food items and support to socially unprotected segments
of the population including refugees, IDPs, families of war victims
from Karabakh, the elderly and orphans. Seven hundred tons of
food and more than 30 tons of non-food items have been distributed
to 4,000 families in 14 regions of Azerbaijan.
In mid-1995, Hayat initiated programs for IDPs to develop self-help
skills, improve living conditions, provide psychological rehabilitation
and facilitate repatriation. Some specific examples include a
Sheep Project [see AI 3.4, page 80] carried out in conjunction
with UNHCR which provided five sheep for breeding, milk and wool,
to displaced families headed by a female. Another project, implemented
with SCF and Mobil, provided for the rehabilitation of orphanages
To date, 14 projects assisting nearly 37,000 individuals have
been implemented by Hayat in 15 regions of Azerbaijan, including
Baku and Sumgayit. Hayat continues to cooperate with many international
humanitarian organizations such as UNDP, UNHCR, WFP, ECHO, SCF
and IOM. Hayat is also currently involved in a public building
rehabilitation project with Mercy Corps International.
Contact: President, 72 / 90 Kasumzade Street, Baku. Tel:
(994-12) 98-11-19 or 97-30-52; Fax: 97-30-52 or 97-30-53; e-mail:
Established in Azerbaijan
in March 1992, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
supports offices in Baku and Barda which are staffed by 19 international
workers and 75 Azerbaijanis. Their major funding is from ECHO,
European governments, Japan and the U.S. ICRC's 1997 budget totals
ICRC's 1996-97 Agricultural Rehabilitation Program provided IDPs
in Fuzuli with 185 metric tons of first generation wheat flour
seeds, tools and cash loans to plant 900 hectares of land. This
project gave whole families and communities a real chance to
engage in an activity at which they are skilled and decreased
their dependency on humanitarian relief by providing the means
for them to feed themselves. During the next sowing season, ICRC
will expand this program to the seven remaining districts where
they are active.
ICRC also provides direct relief assistance by distributing food,
clothes, blankets, kerosene, detergents and other essential items.
In Fuzuli, alone, they have assisted nearly 18,000 individuals.
In the remaining districts, they've helped another 30,000 people
who are not displaced, but who are vulnerable due to their proximity
to the conflict and the harsh economic circumstances.
In 1997, ICRC repaired the roofs, doors, windows, floors and
walls of several classrooms in four Fuzuli schools. They also
furnished these classrooms with benches, blackboards, stoves
ICRC also supports orthopedic rehabilitation facilities in Baku
where prostheses are manufactured for amputees and land mine
victims [see AI 3.4, "ICRC's New Orthopedic Center"].
Additionally, they have assisted with water and sanitation schemes,
land mine awareness campaigns targeting potential returnees,
and medical programs, with an emphasis on the scourge of TB in
prison hospitals. Another unique service they provide is visiting
hostages held by both sides (Azerbaijani and Armenian) and passing
messages between families divided by the front line.
Contact: Head of Delegation, 98a Khoyski Street, Republic
Stadium, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 62-05-07 or 90-66-34; Fax: 90-65-19;
e-mail: <postmast@ icrc.baku.az>; Web site: <http://www.icrc.ch>.
Founded in Geneva in
1919, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRCRC) and often referred to simply as "Federation"
is the largest humanitarian organization in the world with societies
in 169 nations. During the 1990s, over half of the Federation's
operations worldwide have been aimed at providing assistance
to refugees and IDPs.
The Federation is also the largest humanitarian organization
operating in the Caucasus and provides direct assistance to approximately
200,000 people in Azerbaijan, alone. The Azerbaijan Delegation
of the Federation was established in April 1993 and currently
maintains a staff of nine international delegates and 250 Azerbaijanis.
Major donors include ECHO and Western European governments such
as Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and UK which channel funds
through their respective national societies.
The Federation, in conjunction with Azerbaijan Red Crescent (AzRC),
provides for the overall management of seven camps established
by the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in the autumn of 1993
in and around Sabirabad. Responsibility for these southern camps,
which are home to 44,000 people displaced by the conflict in
Nagorno-Karabakh, was transferred from Iran to the Federation
in November 1994. Major programs include food and non-food distribution,
water and sanitation, and basic health care including anti-pediculosis
(body lice), anti-scabies, anti-diphtheria and anti-malaria campaigns.
The Federation/AzRC also provide food parcels to socially vulnerable
groups including 30,000 elderly people. Seven thousand of these
are taken care of by a Visiting Nurses Program which distributes
medicine and medical care.
Additionally, the Federation has introduced development programs
in the fields of agriculture and income generation.
Contact: Head of Azerbaijan Delegation, 11 Niazi Street,
Baku. Tel: (994-12) 92-57-92; Fax: 93-18-89; e-mail: <email@example.com>;
Web site: <http://www. ifrc.org>.
The International Rescue
Committee (IRC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, private agency
providing emergency relief assistance to refugees and displaced
people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the newly independent states
(NIS). IRC was founded in 1933 by Albert Einstein [a refugee,
himself] to assist the victims of European fascism. Currently,
IRC is managing over 20 programs internationally. In December
1994, "Money" magazine ranked IRC as the No. 1 U.S.
charity in relief and development.
IRC began operations in Azerbaijan in February 1994 and currently
aids more than 60,000 IDPs in the Aghjabadi, Barda, Beylagan,
Yevlakh, Kurdamir, Aghdam, Imishli, Saatli, Sabirabad, Tartar
and Fuzuli regions. IRC's staff includes 10 international workers
and approximately 120 Azerbaijanis. Major sources of IRC funding
are UNHCR, ECHO, USAID, SV, Amoco, Mellon and Packard Foundations.
IRC's total estimated budget for 1997 is $3.2 million.
IRC's initial task involved distributing tents to Azerbaijanis
displaced by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Since then, IRC
has implemented various successful programs such as latrine construction,
water system repair, clothing and other non-food distribution,
single-family shelter construction, public building rehabilitation,
public health education, reproductive health education and income
Whenever possible, IRC's programs are designed to promote self-reliance
and sustainability while providing for the basic needs of its
beneficiaries. For example, IRC's Mud Brick Shelter Program funded
by USAID has given technical assistance and materials so that
families can build their own homes. Since its beginnings in 1995,
this program has provided 2,762 families with safe and dry shelter.
Similarly, their Repatriate Home Rehabilitation Program funded
by UNHCR assists families who are from regions in Azerbaijan
where they are able to begin returning [see AI 4.4, "Horadiz:
Finally, the Refugees are Heading Home" by Marcus Hopkins]
to repair their partially destroyed homes and begin the task
of rebuilding their communities.
In 1997, IRC will be implementing additional programs in public
building rehabilitation, public health education and income generation.
Many IDPs are living in unsafe or unhealthy conditions in former
schools, dormitories, train stations, bath houses and collective
farm centers. To improve living conditions in these buildings,
IRC repairs or replaces doors and windows, leaky roofs, faulty
wiring and badly damaged floors and walls. Minor repairs are
also done on the plumbing, sewage and gas systems. IDP contractors
carry out most of the work, so they earn money while improving
living conditions for their families and communities. IRC's Public
Building Rehabilitation Program is funded by ECHO and UNHCR.
Until recently, IRC's public health education focused on personal
hygiene and was carried out in coordination with the construction
of pit latrines and rehabilitation of sanitation facilities.
Today, the emphasis is on nutrition, general health issues and
Finally, there are many skilled artisans and professionals among
the IDPs, but they lack tools, capital or business skills needed
to earn a living. For individual craftsmen, IRC supplies loans
of capital to purchase needed equipment and materials such as
sewing machines, cloth, hand-knitting materials and yarn, knitting
machines, shoe repair materials, car mechanics tools, hairdresser
and barber kits, carpentry, masonry, welding and plumbing kits
so that they can start their own business and begin producing
income for their families. IRC also provides business training
and loans to IDP groups who wish to organize small businesses
such as leather tanning, car repair, metal fabrication and carpentry
workshops, as well as bakeries and wheat mills. IRC's Income
Generation Program is funded by SV and ECHO.
Contact: Director, 107 / 11 Vidadi Street, Baku. Tel:
(994-12) 95-35-94 or 94-19-66; Fax: 98-93-55; e-mail: <office@
irchq.baku.az>; Web site: <http://www. intrescom.org/toc.html>.
Medecins Sans Frontieres
In Azerbaijan, Médecins
Sans Frontières-Belgium (MSF-B) implements medical programs
in regions with high concentrations of refugees and IDPs.
In three regions of southwest Azerbaijan, MSF-B is assisting
MOH and UNICEF in immunization management carried out in government
health facilities. They are involved in the monitoring and the
maintenance of the coldchain (freezers, refrigerators, coolboxes
and ice packs needed to maintain the right temperature for vaccines)
and in the supply of adapters, voltage regulators and generators.
MSF-B also teaches refresher courses to staff involved in immunizations
and provides health education on immunization to the refugee/
IDP population. Additionally, they support a dispensary, a laboratory
program and a reproductive health project in these regions.
In Sumgayit, MSF-B operates a primary health care program for
vulnerable people which involves supporting four dispensaries
and collaborating with several government health facilities including
a general hospital, a maternity center, a dispensary for skin
and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and the Center of Sanitation
and Epidemiology. Additionally in Sumgayit, MSF-B promotes family
planning, distributes equipment and medical materials to six
laboratories, and is initiating an expanded immunization and
coldchain program. They have also carried out water/sanitation
activities and a health education program in 15 IDP buildings
Contact: No longer in Azerbaijan (after 1998).
Medecins Sans Frontieres
Founded in France in
1990, Médecins du Monde (MDM) is a nongovernmental humanitarian
organization which has established independent delegations including
MDM-Greece, MDM-Spain, MDM-International and MDM-USA. MDM-Greece
works mainly in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon.
Established in Azerbaijan in February 1995, MDM-Greece maintains
a staff of two international workers and eight Azerbaijanis who
have been distributing drugs and medical equipment to hospitals
and maternity units in northwest Azerbaijan. They also support
three clinics in Shaki, Oghuz and Mingachevir which provide free
consultations and treatment to mothers, children and the elderly.
Additionally, they treat scabies and other skin diseases.
Contact: President, Stadiou-5, 105-62 Athens, Greece.
Tel: (30-1) 324-3344 or 331-4572; Fax: 324-3346. In Baku: Yannis
Aghapios, Mission Coordinator, 124 / 22 Kichik Qala Street. Tel
/ Fax: (994-12) 92-71-94. In Mingachevir, 5 / 43 Vidadi Street.
Tel: (994-241) 43987.
Enterprise (NHE) began its work among the refugees in Azerbaijan
in January 1994, particularly in the Samukh region outside Ganja.
NHE's total staff includes five Norwegians, and its major source
of funding comes from private donors in Norway.
Funded by Statoil, NHE has renovated two orphanages. In the Shaki
orphanage, NHE has purchased new windows, a generator, a new
heating system, desks and chairs. In the Mardakan orphanage,
they have improved the water supply, renovated the bathrooms
and painted the buildings. There are also plans for the installation
of a gas heating system.
NHE has also joined with the English organizations Ichthus and
Global Care to form "Hope for Azerbaijan" (HfA). Through
this collaboration, NHE has been working to improve the living
conditions for both the children at the Ganja orphanage and for
the 110 people living in Ganja's psychiatric hospital.
In 1997, NHE will be instituting a cultural exchange program,
introducing Azerbaijani art and music to the Norwegian people.
Through this program, NHE hopes to share some of the richness
of the Azerbaijani culture with the outside world. Also, a 50-member
Norwegian choir will be performing in Baku, Lahij, Shaki and
Ganja during the Spring, and will meet with local musicians.
Contact: Country Director, 20 / 28 January Prospect, Ganja.
Tel: (994-222) 60411; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
In Norway: P.O. Box 9219, Groenland, 0134 Oslo. Tel / Fax: (47)
OXFAM is a British humanitarian
agency which has been working in Azerbaijan since 1993 implementing
projects on behalf of UNHCR and ECHO for IDPs and refugees, as
well as developing an OXFAM-funded program for local NGO support.
OXFAM has an office in Baku and currently operates its field
activities from Barda. Their staff includes three international
workers and 50 Azerbaijanis. OXFAM strives to encourage the development
of local capacity, with country and regional training and in-service
support to increase professional, management, technological and
OXFAM's Public Health Program funded by UNHCR addresses the issues
of safe drinking water, sanitation, health education, shelter
provision and community group activities for women and children
living in camps, communal buildings and informal settlements.
OXFAM's Local Production and Distribution Program funded by ECHO
provides a small income to IDPs (mainly women) to produce knit
ware, bedding, rugs and clothing which is then distributed to
vulnerable people, especially during the winter months.
OXFAM's Local NGO Program seeks to support indigenous, independent
groups and organizations which provide services to disadvantaged
individuals such as the disabled.
OXFAM's programs for 1997 include a Credit Program to facilitate
small business initiatives and a Disability Awareness Program
to bring issues surrounding disabled people in Azerbaijan to
the attention of the government and the public.
Contact: Country Representative, 91 / 49 Nizami Street,
Baku. Tel: (994-12) 93-48-16; Fax: 98-13-01; e-mail: <email@example.com>;
Web site: <http://www.oxfam.org.uk/>.
(RI) is an American-based humanitarian agency which provides
emergency relief, rehabilitation and development services to
individuals affected by man-made and natural disasters and to
those who live in high conflict areas. RI is nonprofit, nonpolitical
Since 1990, RI has been involved with projects in Azerbaijan,
Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Iraq and Tajikistan. Established
in Azerbaijan in 1993, they have been providing life-saving services
to 250,000 refugees and IDPs in 14 regions.
Supported by USAID, RI operates the largest NGO clinical program
in Azerbaijan and has provided more than 1.1 million people with
medical consultations to date. Their mobile health vans visit
more than 500 settlements monthly and focus on primary preventive
and curative health services for women and children.
As a principle implementing partner of UNHCR, RI has constructed
over 500 single-classroom, limestone buildings so that more than
25,000 refugee and IDP children may attend school. They have
also built integrated communities with housing for more than
750 of the most vulnerable refugee and IDP families. Highly experienced
teams of international and Azerbaijani engineers construct quality
limestone houses and provide access to potable water, electricity
and sanitary latrines. Health care, seeds and gardening tools
are also provided to these families. Additionally, the newer
constructed sites have bath houses, clinics, schools and multipurpose
community centers for activities such as income generation and
Other RI projects involve livestock distribution (UNHCR and FAO),
education (Soros Foundation) and women's reproductive health
RI receives significant corporate support from Unocal, McDermott,
Azimex and Pennzoil, as well as partner agencies in the U.S.
Contact: Dr. Farshad Rastegar, Director, USA. Tel: (310)
441-0097; Fax: 441-5156; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Or Country
Director, 118 Safaroglu Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 94-18-26;
Fax: 98-05-67; e-mail: <email@example.com>.
Founded in 1940, the
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the humanitarian
aid and development department of the General Board of Global
Ministries of the United Methodist Church. To date, UMCOR has
funded projects in over 100 countries. Established in Azerbaijan
in March 1996, UMCOR's administrative team includes three international
staff and 19 Azerbaijanis. Their public donors include the U.S.
Department of State, USAID and UNHCR.
Established in 1960, Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA) is
a nonprofit association of 12 relief and development agencies
representing a vast constituency of churches in America and throughout
the world. In the past five years, IMA has received, packed and
shipped medical materials to over 120 countries.
UMCOR focuses on the provision of emergency medical services
and preventative primary health care to nearly 200,000 IDPs who
reside on the Absheron peninsula. UMCOR uses medicines and supplies
procured by IMA from U.S. corporations for preventive treatment
as well as secondary and tertiary health care.
UMCOR's staff includes 32 physicians and medicine dispensers
who operate nine primary health care clinics which average 8,000
patients per month. UMCOR also supports 20 Azerbaijan Ministry
of Health clinics and hospitals.
So far, three U.S. airlifts have been received by UMCOR, carrying
medical cargo valued at nearly $4 million. More than $1 million
of this was secured by IMA, with the majority of corporate donations
coming from Exxon, Pennzoil and Amoco. IMA has also received
pledges to fund a May 1997 airlift.
Other ongoing projects of UMCOR in Azerbaijan include a USAID/SCF
health education project and a UNHCR refugee women's reproductive
Contact: Nicole Jordania or Thien-Ky Luu of UMCOR, or
Victoria Guisinger of IMA, 1601 N. Kent Street, Suite 1010, Arlington,
VA 22209. Tel: (703) 276-1010; Fax: (703) 276-0509; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Or Jemal Shahendigev, Deputy Head of Mission, or Kimberly Rosen,
Program Compliance Officer, 66 / 18 Islam Safarly, Baku. Tel
/ Fax: (994-12) 97-30-17; e-mail: <email@example.com>.
Web site for UMCOR: <http://gbgm-umc.org/ divisions/umcor/hotline.html>.
Web site for IMA: <http://www.interchurch.org>.
Established in Azerbaijan
in December 1992, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner For
Refugees) implements dozens of relief activities through its
partnerships with NGOs which include CAD, Hayat, IRC, OXFAM,
RI and UMCOR. In the past, UNHCR has also worked through ADRA,
AzRC, Global Care, IFRCRC, International Islamic Relief Organisation,
MSF-Holland, MSF-Belgium, Turkish Red Crescent Society and World
Vision International. This work is coordinated by UNHCR's staff
of 18 people including nine Azerbaijanis.
The unshakable wish of the IDPs in Azerbaijan is to return to
their homes as soon as possible-a fact which UNHCR always keeps
in mind when planning relief programs. Primary activities include
providing alternative or improved shelter to IDPs living in extremely
difficult conditions such as earth dugouts, railway cars and
public buildings not intended for residential use. UNHCR also
works to improve water and sanitation conditions, distributes
food and non-food items, constructs classrooms, and supports
both medical outreach programs and income generation programs
including growing vegetables and raising sheep.
A byproduct of UNHCR's activities has been the creation of several
hundred regular and part-time jobs in the process of delivering
Another core function of UNHCR is to support the government of
Azerbaijan in its development of a legal framework for handling
refugees and asylum seekers based on international principles.
Accordingly, UNHCR has organized seminars and conferences to
address the legal and legislative aspects of the refugee question.
They also support training and exchange programs which expose
individuals to similar activities in both CIS and non-CIS countries.
UNHCR is primarily funded by governments but also benefits from
donations from corporations and individuals.
Contact: UNHCR ACTION, P.O. Box 2500, H Geneva 2, Switzerland.
Or Ann Howarth-Wiles, UNHCR Representative, 3 Lermontov Street,
Baku. Tel: (994-12) 97-10-82 or 92-83-19; Fax: 98-11-34; e-mail:
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; Web site: <http://www. unhcr.ch>.
Established in Azerbaijan
in October 1993, the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF)
works to mitigate the hardship endured by the displaced children
(who are estimated to number nearly 300,000) in Azerbaijan. UNICEF
strives to give them a chance for a better future. Their 18-person
staff includes 15 Azerbaijanis. UNICEF's activities in Azerbaijan
are financed by donor contributions from ECHO and numerous countries
such as Sweden, Germany, Spain, Finland, UK, Italy, Switzerland
and the U.S.
In the summer of 1996, UNICEF selected Barda where thousands
had fled after being driven from the Aghdam district as the site
of its emergency project. UNICEF provided the Barda camps with
supplies for vaccination campaigns, medicine, children's winter
and summer clothing, shoes, educational kits and recreation materials.
Equally important is UNICEF's long-term project concerned with
the psycho-social rehabilitation of children affected by war
and poverty. A preliminary study had uncovered an evident retardation
among some of these children in their physical, social and emotional
development. After working with them for three months, however,
dramatic changes were observed. Funding from the Swedish government
will enable UNICEF to expand this project to include the children
in all refugee and IDP settlements in Azerbaijan.
An additional UNICEF initiative which met with great success
in 1996 was the establishment of Children's Centers in Sabirabad
and Barda where 400 children between the ages of three and six
now receive preschool education five days a week. UNICEF has
allocated $80,000 for the creation of similar Children's Centers
in other regions of Azerbaijan, but is seeking additional resources
to expand this initiative.
Contact: 3 Istiglaliyat Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 98-05-78;
Fax: 93-82-78; e-mail: <root@unicef. baku.az>, Web site:
Rafiga heard gunfire
nearby and panicked. Gathering up the nine members of her family,
they leave quickly. But where to go? After traveling for 14 days,
Rafiga's family settles in an unfinished medical clinic with
no partitions for privacy, no windows, no gas, no electricity.
They work hard to improve their shelter. Luckily, Rafiga's husband
finds a job, so there is food. But there is no water, no warmth
and few clothes. Her husband becomes ill. In those conditions,
sickness can kill and it does. Now they have no income, no food
and no strength. Yet strength is needed to ensure their own survival.
As you walk around the busy city of Baku, it is hard to believe
that people like Rafiga exist in Azerbaijan. But they do, and
there are many facing similarly bleak situations. These are the
people that World Vision is helping.
Established in Azerbaijan in June 1994, World Vision strives
to provide for the immediate needs of refugees, while at the
same time encouraging and enabling them to become self-sufficient.
Their projects include food distribution, shelter rehabilitation
and income generation such as supporting agricultural or small
business endeavors. World Vision's staff in Azerbaijan totals
151, with 141 being Azerbaijani.
Their major sources of funding come from SCF, USAID and WFP.
In the past, funds have also been received from UNHCR, the private
sector and the governments of Canada, UK and the Netherlands.
From Azerbaijan International (5.1) Spring 1997.
© Azerbaijan International 1997. All rights reserved.
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AI 5.1 (Spring 1997)
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