TODAY.AZ / Politics

EU-Azerbaijan join efforts to combat human trafficking

12 June 2017 [14:49] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Amina Nazarli

The EU-Azerbaijan cooperation on combating human trafficking is extremely important, said Malena Mard in Baku.

The head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan made the remarks during the kick-off event for the "Enhancement of national capacities to combat human trafficking in Azerbaijan" project on June 12, Trend reported.

"The project targets serious form of organized crime on trafficking in human beings," said Mard. "Trafficking of human beings is expressively prohibited in the EU. Addressing trafficking means upholding of fundamental rights."  

It is a crime that takes the advantage of vulnerable people, she said, adding that combating trafficking is an overall priority for the EU.

Mard pointed out that combating the trafficking of human beings is an integral part of the European agenda on migration and also of the European agenda on security.

"We have developed a coherent and coordinated legal policy framework to address trafficking in human beings," she said. "Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, we see this type of crime rising up. That's why, cooperation in this field is very important."

Mard noted that the EU is very proud to work together with Azerbaijani government on this issue.

Further, she said that there is an umbrella EU project called "Consolidation of migration and border management capacities in Azerbaijan".

"Within this project, we have taken a number of measures. We have reviewed counter-trafficking mechanism in Azerbaijan," she added.

Mard noted the EU and Azerbaijan have great experience in implementing of various projects and expressed the hope that the parties will successfully implement this project, as well. 

Measures to combat human trafficking are being taken at the state level in Azerbaijan, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev said addressing the meeting.

The launch of this project will lay the foundation for a new stage of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the International Organization for Migration and the European Union in this field, Mammadguliyev said.  

The deputy minister expressed his confidence that the project will be successfully implemented and will open new opportunities for cooperation in this field, stressing that Azerbaijan will fulfill its obligations under this project and will fully support its implementation.

The head of the Main Department for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of the Interior Ministry, Heydar Heydarov, said that as many as 486 traffickers were brought to justice in Azerbaijan over the past 12 years. 

Speaking at the event, Heydarov noted that Azerbaijan adopted the Law on Combating Human Trafficking in 2005.

In Azerbaijan, less than one percent of crimes committed during the year are crimes related to trafficking in human beings.

"Out of 26,916 criminal cases in 2015, only 128 crimes were related to human trafficking. For more than 12 years 1,078 criminal cases on human trafficking were investigated, 486 persons were brought to responsibility, 761 victims of this crime were identified, "Heydarov said.

Human trafficking is one of the most immoral crimes, turning men, women and children from all around the world into victims each day, destroying their lives, dreams, and futures.

Azerbaijan actively combats the trafficking in persons for sexual slavery, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation. The Government implements a range of measures to combat against all spheres of human trafficking inside the country.

Mammadguliyev further spoke of the cancellation of the visa regime between Azerbaijan and the EU, noting that this issue is a matter of future. 

"Currently, we are at the stage of visa facilitation. Cancellation of the visa regime is a matter of future. First of all, we should implement the new agreement on strategic partnership and get its positive results. Then an action plan should be worked out between the EU and Azerbaijan with the purpose of establishing a visa-free regime," he added.

The European Council adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan in November 2016.

The new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.

The agreement will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European Neighborhood Policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.


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