Response to Chris Pincher 5 June 2013 – Chair All-Party Parliamentary Group Azerbaijan

In a free world everyone should have the right to freedom of movement and to go and live wherever they wish to. In the real world Government’s apply restrictions on that. In an on-going conflict situation then the right of an individual to return to live on the land of their enemy is not a matter of principle, but a matter of practicality and common sense.

So, in answer to your question, then I think that all of those people who became IDP’s during the war, whether they be Azeri’s from the original NKAO, or the surrounding regions, or Armenians from Baku, Sumgait, Kirovabad etc, should have the individual right to return home. In other words they have the individual choice to do that, and if they feel that they wish to do that, and can make it work, given the inevitable issues with integrating within a population that may be naturally anxious or antagonistic towards them, then that is for them to decide.

This does not imply that I am in favour of government driven political repatriations, or ethnic cleansing of the people who currently live in those people’s homelands. Solving one problem by creating another is not a practical or ethical solution.

Your All-Party Parliamentary Group, and the European Azerbaijan Society are campaigning for the return of 875,000 back to their homeland which includes refugees from Armenia, as well as IDP’s (refugees) from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Your statements constitute only political rhetoric if you have no view of how, practically, that return of 875,000 people might actually happen.

I have asked a few times what your view is, as a Member of Parliament, and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Azerbaijan. I think it is important that everyone is transparent on how they see the consequences of their statements and requests in the interests of well-informed understanding, discussion and debate.

Categories: Letters

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