Azerbaijan-Council of Europe relations
Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which is the statutory decision-making body of the organization, is comprised of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of member States. It is considered to be the guardian of the Council of Europe's fundamental values, such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and it monitors member states' compliance with their undertakings. The Committee meets at Ministerial level once a year May to review political issues and give necessary political impetus to the activities of the organization. The Committee meets also at Deputies' level in Strasbourg on a weekly basis. These meetings of the Deputies', as well as its various rapporteur and working groups, conduct most of the business of the Committee of Ministers, where Permanent Representations based in Strasbourg consider certain issues in depth before decisions are taken. The Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers is transferred each six months, in May and November, from one member State to the next in English alphabetical order.
Azerbaijan has been actively using this governmental platform of interaction for raising issues of concern and discussing various national approaches to European problems on an equal footing with other member States. The Committee is being systematically informed about developments in Azerbaijan, more specifically on wide range of consistent measures undertaken in protection and promotion of human rights, consolidating democracy and strengthening the rule of law. Representatives of different government institutions and state agencies of Azerbaijan have also been taking active part in the work of intergovernmental committees and subordinate bodies which have been set up by and work under the authority of the Committee of Ministers (around 30 such bodies are currently operational). The Republic of Azerbaijan, for the first time since becoming the member of the organization, chaired the Committee of Ministers from May to November 2014 (see Chairmanship of Azerbaijan to the Committee of Ministers).
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe - PACE
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) brings together 612 men and women (306 representatives and 306 substitutes) from the parliaments of the Council of Europe's 46 member states. Though it contains many voices, reflecting political opinion across the continent, its mission is to uphold the shared values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law that are the "common heritage" of the peoples of Europe.
Azerbaijan is represented in PACE by the delegation of twelve parliamentarians, six of them being representatives and the other six being substitutes. The head of the Azerbaijani delegation is Mr Samad Seyidov, who is the Chairman of the Committee on International Relations and Inter-Parliamentary Relations of Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan. Members of the Azerbaijani delegation actively participate in the work of PACE committees, as well as in plenary sessions, through preparing reports and contributing to discussions. The Azerbaijani delegation is interested in establishing relations with PACE based on constructive cooperation and mutual respect.
Pursuant to Resolution 1115 (1997), PACE mandated its Monitoring Committee to verify the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the member states under the terms of the Council of Europe Statute, the European Convention on Human Rights and all other Council of Europe conventions to which they are parties, as well as the honouring of the commitments entered into by the authorities of member states upon their accession to the Council of Europe. Currently ten states (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine) are under full monitoring procedure. This involves regular visits by a pair of rapporteurs, who conduct an ongoing dialogue with authorities, and occasional plenary debates to ensure that a State's progress and problems are honestly assessed. In this regard, the Monitoring Committee’s co-rapporteurs regularly visit Azerbaijan in order to review the progress of implementation of the commitments taken by Azerbaijan. During these visits, the co-rapporteurs hold meetings in different state bodies and exchange views on the commitments undertaken by Azerbaijan before the Council of Europe.
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is an institution of the Council of Europe, responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 46 member states and assessing the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. As the voice of Europe’s municipalities and regions, it works to foster consultation and political dialogue between national governments and local and regional authorities, through cooperation with the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
The Congress is made up of two chambers: the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions. It has 306 representatives and 306 substitutes, all appointed for four years, representing over 150,000 local and regional authorities in the Council of Europe’s 46 member states. The Congress’s work is organised with three committees: a Monitoring Committee, a Governance Committee and a Current Affairs Committee.
Since its accession to the Council of Europe, the Republic of Azerbaijan has been closely cooperating with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. This cooperation encompasses wide range of issues related to development and strengthening of local and regional democracy.
The Congress adopted Resolution 151(2003) and Recommendation 126 (2003), Resolution 345(2012) and Recommendation 326(2012), as well as Resolution 473(2021) and Recommendation 461 (2021), on the situation of local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan respectively during its plenary held in May 2003, in October 2012 and in June 2021. These documents were adopted following the reports prepared on the monitoring of local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan.
The Congress periodically observes local and regional elections, especially in Council of Europe member states. Observation activities cover both polling and election campaigns. The Congress has several times held election observation missions during the municipal elections in Azerbaijan.
Members (representatives and substitutes) of the national delegations to the Congress are appointed for a four-year term in accordance with each individual member state's own procedure. Within national delegations, members are divided between the Congress' two chambers. Azerbaijan is represented in the Congress by a delegation of 6 representatives and 6 substitutes.
European Court on Human Rights
Since 15 April 2002 the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which is the most important legal instrument of the Council of Europe in the sphere of protection of human rights.
Above-mentioned convention contains the fundamental rights and freedoms which are inherent in every human and establishes the European Court on Human Rights which is legal mechanism for protection of conventional rights and freedoms. Jurisdiction of the Court is in force in respect of Azerbaijan since 15 April 2002. The case-law of the Court has the positive impact for the improvement of domestic legislation and ensures the implementation of European law standards into national legislation. A judge elected from each of the Council of Europe member states, including Azerbaijan, serves in the Court for a period of 9 years.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
The Government of Azerbaijan has been pursuing constructive dialogue with the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, which was established by 1999 resolution of the Committee of Ministers as a non-judicial institution to promote education in, awareness of and respect for human rights, embodied in the human rights instruments of the Council of Europe. Currently the position of the Commissioner is held by Ms. Dunja Mijatović who took up her position on 1 April 2018. In accordance with its mandate, the Commissioner regularly conducts visits to the member States and subsequently publishes reports of the visits containing conclusions and recommendations. Last visit by the Commissioner to Azerbaijan took place in July 2019 which enabled D. Mijatović to have open and detailed discussions with the respective authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan on human rights developments in the country. During the meetings with the authorities the Commissioner received an extensive update on consistent and comprehensive measures undertaken by the Government in the field of protection and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of the law in Azerbaijan. The report of the visit to Azerbaijan was published together with the comments of the Azerbaijani authorities in December 2019.
Last update: 16.05.2022