Human Rights Protection
Office of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereinafter referred to as "the Commissioner") was set up to restore the human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and in the international treaties to which the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party, violated by governmental and municipal bodies and officials of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The activities of the Commissioner do not restrict and substitute the competence of other governmental bodies ensuring the protection and restoration of violated human rights and freedoms. Furthermore, Investigation of the activities of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, deputies of the Parliament(MilliMejlis) of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the judges of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall not be subjected to the powers of the Commissioner. However, this excludes the issues of examination of complaints on violations of human rights related to red tape, loss or delayed delivery of documents in courts as well as delays in the execution of court judgments.
The activity of the Commissioner in the field of human rights protection includes protection, observance, examination of ensuring status, monitoring and analysis of human and citizens’ rights and freedoms, as well as identification of gaps and violations and restoration and prevention of the human rights violations.
Persons may lodge a complaint to the Commissioner through various means. Everyone, can personally reach the Ombudsman by sending his application via ordinary mail or email, online application existed on the official website, and/or coming to the Secretariat of the Office or Regional offices, hotline for prevention of torture and hotline “916” on child rights violations, or during the Commissioner’s or staff members’ visits to the temporary detention places, investigation isolators, prison facilities, military units, social-care institutions, including boarding houses for the children, older persons, and the persons with disabilities, boarding schools, health and edication institutions, or to refugees’ settlements.
The Commissioner, who is functioning on the basis of the principles of publicity, transparency, legality, justice, and impartiality examines complaints on violations of human rights from citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan, foreigners and stateless persons, as well as legal entities (hereinafter referred as "applicant").
A complaint may also be lodged by a third person or a non-governmental organization with consent of the person human rights of which have allegedly been violated.If it is impossible to obtain consent of the person human rights of which have allegedly been violated (if that person died, lost his or her legal capacity etc.), a complaint may be lodged by a third person or a non-governmental organization without consent.
In addition, with consent of the person whose human rights have been violated, the Commissioner may carry out investigations on his or her own initiative in cases of special public importance, or in cases where the interests of persons which are not capable to vindicate their rights themselves are affected.
A complaint may be lodged with the Commissioner within a period of one year from the date on which an alleged violation of rights of the applicant occurred or he or she became aware of that violation.
Complaints addressed by persons held in penitentiary institutions or detention centers shall be delivered to the Commissioner within 24 hours without being subjected to any kind of censorship.
Complaints are not investigated if as stated above the period of one year to lodge a complaint is missed; if the complaint is beyond the competence of the Commissioner; if a complaint is anonymous; if a complaint is being examined under trial proceedings; or the re-submitted complaint does not contain any new information, facts and evidence.
In respect to a complaint on violation of human rights lodged with the Commissioner, the latter accepts that complaint for investigation.
While investigating the circumstances indicated in a complaint on violations of human rights, the Commissioner shall receive observations as to that complaint from the body or official complained of. Within 10 days the observations shall be submitted to the Commissioner.
While investigating the circumstances indicated in a complaint, the Commissioner has right to have access, at any time, without hindrance and prior notification, to any governmental and municipalities, military units, police bodies, temporary detention centers, investigation isolators, penitentiary institutions, garrisons, psychiatric clinics and the other places, which a person cannot leave at own will; to meet and interview, any persons who may give necessary information in private and if it is necessary with presence of an expert or interpreter; to obtain and take copies of the documents confirming the lawfulness of detention, and about treatment and custody conditions of detainees; to draw up acts and the outcomes of the monitoring; to make necessary recommendations to the competent state bodies and to get the relevant information from those bodies concerning their implementation.
The Commissioner has also the rights to receive necessary information, documents and materials, within 10 days, from any governmental and municipalities and officials; to obtain court orders (judgments) in force concerning criminal, civil and administrative cases, as well as cases, the proceedings in respect of which were terminated; during investigation of a complaint, to receive written explanations from officials; to give fact-finding tasks to relevant bodies, excluding those or an official whose decisions and actions (inactions) are complained of; to charge relevant government bodies and organizations with a task of preparing an expert opinion; to be received without delay by heads and other officials of government and municipal bodies, commanders of military units, by officials of penitentiary institutions and detention centers.
Range of meetings and receptions with the population are held in Baku and various cities and towns of the country. During these live conversations, necessary explanatory work is made with various groups of the population and they are legally consulted. In addition, the problems and impediments faced by the people are identified and relevant measures are taken in coordination with the central and local executive power offices and municipalities.
Where, during an investigation, any violations other than those mentioned in the complaint are revealed, the Commissioner carries out relevant investigation provided that this is within his or her competence; if not, he or she shall refer the materials to relevant government body.
Complaints can be investigated during 30 days. If additional investigation or materials are required, this term may be extended to more 30 days. With a written consent of an applicant, if it is necessary to conduct additional investigation, this term may be re-prolonged.
The Commissioner, within 5 days, submits written information to an applicant of the measures taken in respect of his or her complaint, and results of the investigation.
If, as a result of an investigation, the Commissioner finds a violation of the rights and freedoms of an applicant, he or she may demand from the governmental or municipal body, whose decision or action (inaction) violated the human rights and freedoms, to remedy those violations. The appropriate bodies and officials shall, within ten days, submit to the Commissioner written information of the measures taken regarding those violations. Where such information is not submitted or the appropriate body fails to comply with the demands of the Commissioner, the latter may apply to the superior authorities, to apply to the relevant bodies to institute the criminal proceeding in cases where certain criminal conducts appears, to apply to the subjects entitled to file additional cassation appeal; to make proposals to relevant bodies on instituting disciplinary proceedings against the officials whose decision or action (inaction) violated human rights and freedoms; to inform mass media of the results of the investigation conducted in respect of human rights violations; to apply to the country President, or to report before the MilliMejlis in cases, where violations of human rights take on special public importance, if the means available at the disposal of the Commissioner are not sufficient for remedying those violations; to apply to a court of justice with a view to the protection of the rights and freedoms violated by decision or action (inaction) of a governmental or municipal body, or an official;and to apply to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan in cases where the rights and freedoms of a person are violated by legislative acts in force.
The Commissioner keeps the information about an applicant confidential. No data concerning personal and family life of applicants, which became known to the Commissioner while investigating the circumstances indicated in a complaint, can be made public without consent of those persons.
The Commissioner may submit motions to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to granting pardon, citizenship and political asylum. The Commissioner may submit motions to the MilliMejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to the adoption or review of laws with a view to ensuring human rights and freedoms and with regard to declaring amnesty.
Not later than 2 months after the end of each year, the Commissioner submits to the country President an annual report on the protection of human rights in the country and reports before the MilliMejlis of the country.
The annual report provides the information about the governmental and municipal bodies or officials having violated human rights, and failed to comply with the demands of the Commissioner, and of the measures taken in this regard.
The annual report of the Commissioner also includes general views and recommendations concerning the protection of human rights.
The report is submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor-General and is published in the newspaper "Azerbaijan" and "Compilation of legislative acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan".