Ensuring the right of access to information
Under the Constitutional Law on Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Ombudsman supervises the execution of duties by the information holding state bodies, municipalities, and state officials in accordance with the requirements of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Access to Information.
Moreover, the Ombudsman has a power prescribed in 13-1 Article of the Constitutional Law regarding specific aspects of consideration of complaints about the violation of the right to obtain information.
The Ombudsman, Chief of Staff, and Deputy to the Chief of Staff are entitled to compile a protocol on administrative violation on behalf of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as prescribed in Articles 371-374, 382, and 554 of the Code of the Administrative Offences, in accordance with Presidential Decree No.1361 dated 3 May 2017 on the approval of the “List of officials authorized to compile protocols on administrative offenses considered by district (city) courts”.
Target 16.10 of the UN SDGs requires ensuring public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. A number of measures are taken to build an internet network, to promote open government, to ensure openness of information of public importance and the right of access to information across the country.
The Ombudsman deals with expeditiously with all incoming applications about the violations of the Law on Access to Information by the information holding state bodies, municipalities, and state officials within the Ombudsman’s mandate; sends inquiries to the competent bodies for the elimination of law violations; analyzes the appeals; responding to information inquiries; and organizes a range of legal-awareness events (seminars, training, and conferences and etc.) on relevant topics.
The Ombudsman constantly issues her proposals and recommendations to the relevant bodies for the advancement of the legislation related to the right to information. Effective cooperation is continued with state bodies, NGOs, relevant international organizations, and national human rights institutions in this direction.
Set of proposals made by the Ombudsman were considered while adopting the Cabinet of Minister’s Decision No. 158 dated 26 July 2012 determining the list of paid information services, payment rules for the preparation and submission of information, terms of provision of information with advance payment, and discounts that can be made at the time of payment, and criteria and rules for providing information requests by contract.
The Third Component of the Twinning Project, launched in collaboration with the Council of Europe was supporting capacities of the Ombudsman Institution to implement the Law on Access to Information. In general, about 40 high-level international experts were involved in the implementation of the Project, organizationally supported by the Ombudsman.
Freedom of information is one of the cores of human rights, and staying informed about all dynamic processes in society is one of the fundamental needs. Every individual has the right to information about the events and facts affecting the social environment and are interesting and important to people. This right is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. Despite the serious reforms in the relevant field, the existing problems are still waiting for solutions. Therefore, the protection of the right to information is always improved being in the focus of the Ombudsman.
The Department for Protection of the Right to Information was established at the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) at the initiative of the Ombudsman for the purposes of execution of the mandate and further improvement of the activity set forth in Article 50 of the Constitution, Article 1.3 of the Constitutional Law on the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Access to Information. The Department consists of two Units – Unit on Provision of the Right to Information and Unit on Analysis and Monitoring.
In accordance with the legislation, the Department deals with the provision of the right to information, handling and responding the incoming applications on the violation of the right to information, promoting the right to information, carrying out legal education and monitoring, making analyses, and carrying out activities in the field of the right to access to information as provided by the law.