XV Baku International Conference of Ombudsmen
The 15th Baku International Conference of Ombudsmen on “The role of National Human Rights Institutions in ensuring and promotion of equal rights” was held on June 20-21, 2018 by the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmira Suleymanova with support of the UN team in the country, National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO. The conference was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the 95th birth anniversary of the National leader Heydar Aliyev, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and was held on the occasion of Human Rights Day in Azerbaijan.
Firstly, the participants visited the Alley of Honor. Attendees also went to the Alley of Martyrs to commemorate the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for our independence and territorial integrity, the wreath was laid at the “Eternal flame” monument.
This yearly international conference was attended by the ombudspersons of Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Georgia, as well as from Moscow city, the Republic of Tatarstan and Dagestan of the Russian Federation and their staff members, Chief adviser of the South Caucasus office of the OHCHR of UN, Deputy Head of the Department of Work with Law Enforcement Bodies and Military Issues of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Gulnar Rasulova, UN Resident Coordinator in our country Ghulam Isaczai, Chairman of the Constitutional Court Farhad Abdullayev, Deputy Chairman of the Milli Mejlis Bahar Muradova, other members of the Parliament, ministers, heads of committees, representatives of numerous state authorities, international organizations and above mentioned foreign embassies, rectors of universities, well-known scientists, international experts in the field of Human Rights, representatives from NGOs and mass media.
The Ombudsman opened the event with greetings, noted the purpose and mission of the conference held on the occasion of significance events inside the country and international level. She emphasized that Azerbaijan became the 35th in the world and the first among CIS for its rapid economic development as a country rich of oil, gas and variety of valuable resources, author and owner of important interstate energy and transport projects.
The Commissioner gave broad information about history of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. She noted that the Republic adopted the Declaration of Independence 100 years ago proclaiming Azerbaijan an independent state, vested state power to Azerbaijani people, equality of all the citizens regardless of any ground, creating opportunity for free development of every people, granting political and civil rights to women later enshrined in two Covenants, as well as voting rights of women equally with men were defined before several European countries.
However the well-functioning Republic, recognized by many states and established diplomatic relations, was established in a very difficult period, immediately after the genocide of March-April, 1918, being one of the most horrible among serious aggression and genocides committed by Armenians who had historically been hostile towards our territory. March 31 is the day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis and this year it was the 100th anniversary of this date. The Army of the Soviet Russia jointly with Armenian dashnaks occupied the territory of the sovereign state, which had not yet got firm roots, strong budget, army and existed for only 23 months.
The Ombudsman said that the Azerbaijani people achieved independence on October 18, 1991, for the second time with large number of victims. At the same day, Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted the Constitutional Act on State Independence and declared itself as the successor of the Democratic Republic.
As the National leader Heydar Aliyev returned to the power in 1993, June 15, new basis for our independence was founded as a result of comprehensive, fundamental, consistent reforms, and steps were taken to sustainable development phase. In 1995, the first Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted after popular discussion and referendum. Our country has become signatory to the two known UN Covenants, namely ICCPR and ICESCR, as well as more than 230 international Conventions during the years of independence.
E.Suleymanova gave broad information about the general situation on rapid development in all the spheres, including ensuring human rights, under the leadership of the country President Ilham Aliyev who successfully develops the purposeful policy of national leader Heydar Aliyev. She emphasized the key objective and comprehensive activity of the Ombudsman institution, including the international cooperation, noting more than 15 partnership agreements with foreign Ombudsman institutions.
Broad information was given about the Commissioner’s activity in ensuring and protecting human rights, including rights of different groups of population, activities as National Preventive Mechanism, legal awareness and in other areas. At the same time it was stressed that twenty percent of our lands were occupied, one million of our compatriots live as refugees and IDPs having their human rights grossly and massively violated as a result of the ethnic cleansing policy of Armenia continuing for 30 years.
The Chairman of the Constitutional Court Farhad Abdullayev thanked the Ombudsman for organizing that reputable international conference and the invitation, hailed the cooperation with that institution in the field of human rights. He stated about the reflection of the protection of human rights and freedoms as the highest objective of the state in the Constitution and provided information on the activity of the Constitutional Court, decisions adopted by the court plenary on the basis of the relevant requests addressed by the Commissioner.
The Deputy Chairman of the Milli Mejlis, the head of the Human Rights Committee Bahar Muradova underlined the purposeful work carried out in the protection of human rights and particularly mentioned the role of the Ombudsman herein. She highlighted the cooperation of the Commissioner, who plays the “bridge” role between state bodies and citizens, with the Parliament, including with the Human Rights Committee, also her proposals and recommendations on improving the legislation.
In his speech, the UN Resident Coordinator Gulam Isaczai noted that significant activities have been carried out during 70 years after the adoption of the UDHR, wide space has been given for human rights and freedoms in the Constitution of Azerbaijan as a democratic republic. The importance of National Human Rights İnstitutions was emphasized once again, effective relations with the Azerbaijani Ombudsman were highly evaluated.
Then a video regarding the 70th anniversary of the UDHR was displayed.
Within the plenary sessions, the guests delivered speeches with certain reports on relevant topics.
On June 21, the guests got familiar with the activity of the institution at the Office; exchange of experiences and views was managed within the international conference. Then, Baku Declaration was adopted unanimously.
The guests saw the exhibitions of numerous legal publications developed in the Azerbaijani Ombudsman institution, also various literatures about Azerbaijani realities within the conference.