Baku. Victoria Dementyeva – APA. “The promotion and protection of human rights is a priority issue for the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” says the report submitted the Azerbaijani Government to the UN Human Rights Council, APA reports. The report has been submitted on the eve of the discussion of human rights situation in Azerbaijan at the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Sixteenth session in Geneva on 22 April–3 May.
The report contains the result of the measures taken by the Azerbaijani Government after the first national report of UPR, including promotion and protection of the rights of women, combat against domestic violence, guarantee of gender equality, mothers’ and children’s health, improvement of maternal death cases and promotion and protection of the children’s rights.
Since Nagorny Karabakh and seven neighboring regions of the Republic of
Azerbaijan have been occupied by Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan is unable to ensure implementation of obligations in the field of human rights in the areas currently which are under the control of the Republic of Armenia.
During 4 years after the universal periodic review of the first national report on Azerbaijan, along with other relevant measures, the following laws have been adopted: The Law on Education (19 June 2009); The Law on Combat against domestic violence (22 June 2010); The Law on Ensuring the rights and freedoms of the detained persons (22 May 2012); The Law on Ensuring the intellectual property rights and combat against piracy (22 May 2012).
Azerbaijan also joined four international agreements and conventions during this period. The document notes that the Government is continuing measures towards fight against corruption and enhancement of effectiveness in promotion and providing human rights and freedoms. In line with the recommendations of the European Council Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), some important amendments have been made to the Criminal Code by law dated 24 June 2011.
“Azerbaijan has also taken important measures were defined in strategy on implementation of open government principles. The Republic of Azerbaijan has joined all initiatives on enhancement of effective management. In 2010 second “Electron Azerbaijan” program was adopted, “ASAN” service was established.
For effective implementation of the freedom of speech and expression the Government executes various policies in order to ensure the freedom of mass media and to improve their financial-technical resources. These policies include reducing taxes for media bodies, allocating financial loans for them, redeeming their debts at the expense of state budget, and direct financial support.
All kind of violations of law, including violations against journalists and human rights defenders are widely investigated, relevant measures are taken and those committing such violations are necessarily brought to justice and accordingly punished.”
The document also reflects the measures taken for ensuring freedom of religion in Azerbaijan: “So far 730 religious communities have been registered in State Committee on Religious Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. 34 of them are non-Islam communities (22 Christian, 8 Judaic, 1 deity of Krishna and 3 Baha’i religious communities). At the moment, more than 1500 mosques, 6 synagogues, 6 Russian orthodox, 1 Catholic, 1 Lutheran, 2 Albanian-Udi and 4 Georgian Orthodox churches operate in Azerbaijan.
Before discussing the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has also prepared its recommendations on Azerbaijan. The document includes the recommendations on improving the situation on equality and discrimination, freedom of speech and registration of religious communities, expresses concern over the number of deaths and suicides among prisoners and underlines the importance of ensuring independence of the judiciary.
Human rights situation in Azerbaijan will be discussed on April 30 as a part of the Universal Periodic Review. A relevant resolution on Azerbaijan will be adopted on May 2.