A training seminar on anti-discrimination was held in Guba

On January 29-30, a training seminar was jointly organized by the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU) and the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on the topic “Anti-discrimination in practice for the field officers of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan” in Guba, Azerbaijan. The event was held within the framework of the regional project on “Strengthening access to justice through non-judiciary redress mechanisms for victims of discrimination, hate crime and hate speech in Eastern Partnership countries”, which is funded by the EU and implemented by the CoE.

Firstly, the Commissioner and participants visited the statue of the National Leader, the founder of modern independent Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev in Guba city and expressed their deep respect.

The event brought together the Commissioner Ms.Sabina Aliyeva, head of CoE office in Baku, Mr. Zoltan Hernyes, head of EU Delegation in Azerbaijan, Mr. Kestutis Jankauskas, staff members of the Ombudsman Office and regional centers, foreign and local experts, representatives of NGOs and local communities.

In her speech the Commissioner noted that representatives of different nations, including minorities live in an atmosphere of peace, tranquility, mutual understanding and friendship in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. She emphasized that the Constitution and other legislative acts of the country prohibit discrimination and set forth the right to equality. Noting the cooperation with CoE and EU in different areas of human rights, the Commissioner recalled that the institution was represented in international events held in Paris and Chisinau within the framework of the Programme on Partnership for Good Governance.

The Commissioner stressed the necessity of providing equal opportunities for persons with disabilities to protect their rights in terms of fairness.

The Ombudsman touched upon the importance of ratification of the CoE Convention on Protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse by our country last year, noted the essential role of the effective child rights protection, which is considered as a vulnerable group of the population, in building a strong society.

At the same time, she informed the participants about proposals for ratification of the CoE Convention on Preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and the ongoing activities with regard to this issue, as well as the implementation of Goal 5 (gender equality) of the SDGs at the national level.

In their speeches, Mr. Zoltan Hernyes and Mr.Kestutis Jankauskas congratulated Sabina Aliyeva on her election as the Ombudsman of the country and highly appreciated her efforts for expanding relations between the CoE, EU and Azerbaijani Ombudsman Institution.  During the opening session, the importance of the above-noted project and the cooperation with the Ombudsman institution aimed at implementation of the project was highlighted.

In the course of the training seminar, interactive discussions were conducted with regard to existing European standards, effective approaches, positive country experiences applied with regard to anti-discrimination; relevant questions of participants were answered.

Foreign experts highly appreciated the friendly coexistence of representatives of different nations in Azerbaijan. They also noted the comprehensive activity of the Azerbaijani Ombudsman in the field of protecting and ensuring human rights and freedoms. Within the framework of the event, the participants also paid a visit to Guba Genocide Memorial Complex.

Delivering a speech in the closing ceremony, the Ombudsman mentioned that conducting broad discussions of public importance within the seminar contributed to systemic awareness-raising activities on anti-discrimination. Stressing that the issue of discrimination is of great relevance throughout the world, she noted the importance of putting forward an adequate approach by international community-relevant regional and international organizations without applying double standards. The Commissioner mentioned about violation of fundamental rights of more than one million compatriots, who became refugees and IDPs as a result of the occupation of twenty percent of the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenia and highlighted the necessity of demonstrating a fair and resolute approach and taking immediate measures by the international community against the aggressor.