For Immediate Release
In cooperation with the Regional Center of the Office of Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Azerbaijan Rights Consortium (ARC) project organized public discussions on “The Right to Legal Assistance: Current Situation and Problems”.
Held in Sheki, Azerbaijan on March 28, 2013, the event enabled the participants to assess the current state of protection of rights guaranteed the Azerbaijan population under Article 61 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic and Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The ARC facilitated discussions enabled the civil society leaders and representatives of several agencies of the government to share and compare experiences with protection of citizen rights. The participants identified rights issues and challenges, and explored possible solutions to strengthen the protection of civic rights in Azerbaijan. One of the priority topics discussed was on the need for the Azerbaijani justice system to ensure that free legal assistance is available to the poor and other socio-economically vulnerable populations, in order to provide access to justice and protection of rights under the law.
The gathering of about 30 participants included members of local courts, parliamentarians, NGOs, local executive authority, municipal officials, notaries, officers of Ombudsman’s regional center and prosecutor’s office, and the department of internal affairs.
The dialogue prompted various stakeholders to explore practical measures for improving respect and protection of citizen rights. Areas for improvement were identified, and suggestions offered on how to better safeguard rights in accordance with Azerbaijan’s law and international agreements. Participants were selected to prepare a paper documenting recommendations that will be subsequently submitted to relevant Azerbaijan state authorities, including the Parliament, the Ministry of Justice and the Ombudsman’s Office.
The Azerbaijan Rights Consortium project is implemented by the Azerbaijan Lawyers’ Confederation and its partners Constitution Research Fund, Khazar University, and Citizens Labor Rights Protection League, with support from USAID. The main goal of the project is to increase the effectiveness of civil society organizations and legal professionals to better defend the rights and interests of citizens and to improve the rule-of-law.
Last updated: April 29, 2013