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Azerbaijan celebrates Human Rights Day

18 June 2013 [13:23] - TODAY.AZ
Source: AzerNews

June 18 is marked in Azerbaijan as Human Rights Day, according to a decree on the annual celebration of the date signed on June 18, 2007 by President Ilham Aliyev.

The measure was preceded by the approval of the state program on the protection of human rights on June 18, 1998 by Azerbaijani National Leader, former President Heydar Aliyev. Since then the support of human rights became one of the main priorities of state policy and June 18 has been marked as Human Rights Day in the country.

Human rights are interdependent and indivisible rights inherent to all people regardless of their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

Azerbaijan is one of the countries where human rights and freedoms are deemed the highest value of mankind. The protection of basic human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan is one of the integral parts of the government's political course. Azerbaijan's transformation into a country where human rights are protected at the highest level is the biggest achievement attained in the post-independence period.

The first achievement in the protection of human rights was the development and approval of the first Constitution of the independent Azerbaijan on November 12, 1995.

The third chapter of Azerbaijan's Constitution consisting of 48 clauses is entirely in line with the spirit of respect for a human being, his dignity and rights. Article 71 of the Constitution envisages the observance of human rights and freedoms. It instructs the legislative, executive and judicial powers to protect and maintain these rights and freedoms.

One of the important issues in democratic societies is the protection of freedom of speech and press. Article 47 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan envisages safeguarding these values. Censorship was abolished in Azerbaijan as well.

Naturally, the main right of a human being is his right to life. From the democratic point of view it is inhumane to deprive someone of life for his committing a grave crime. From the religious point of view, it is considered to be against God's will. In 1998 the death penalty was abolished in Azerbaijan.

The accession to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is also one of the achievements in the period of Azerbaijan's independence. According to this document, human rights cannot be considered an internal affair of any country. Azerbaijan acceded to this document on April 16, 1998, on the eve of its 50th anniversary. Independent Azerbaijan announced its joining the international concepts by signing more than 210 documents dealing with human rights.

The establishment of the Ombudsman Institute was another important step taken on the path of creating new efficient human rights protection mechanisms.

Establishment of the Institute of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Azerbaijan for the first time was reflected in the Presidential Decree "On the Actions in Provision of Human Rights and Freedoms" dated February 22, 1998.

On December 28, 2001 the Constitutional Law "On the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan" was adopted by the Milli Majlis (the Parliament of Azerbaijan). Logistics and legal framework were created for the establishment and activity of the Ombudsman Institute.

Azerbaijan's first Ombudsman was elected on July 2, 2002 by the parliament among three candidates put forward by the President with 111 out of 112 votes.

Thanks to all these measures Azerbaijan was recognized as an independent, legal and democratic country in the world where the protection of civil rights and freedoms was appreciated as a result of the wise policy.
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