UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Antonius Broek's speech in a round table on UN DayOct 24, 2013
Dear Ms. Suleymanova, Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Dear Mr. Askerov, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Dear Mr. Rajabli, Chairperson of the Social Policy Committee of the Parliament
Dear Mr. Ahmadov from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dear Mr. Zeyni, President of the National NGO Forum
Excellencies, Colleagues of the UN, Ladies and Gentlemen, friends of the media
Congratulate all with UN Day!
Thank Elmira Hanim (the Ombudsperson) for hosting this gathering on UN Day and giving such importance to cooperation for promoting and advancing human rights.
Welcome participants of the roundtable, which brings together key actors in the field of human rights on this special day. Today’s 24 October we celebrate UN Day already since 1948, and interestingly it is the day that Azerbaijan was elected to the UN Security Council, to bring attention to the work, role and achievements of the United Nations, which have been really good in many areas of for instance achieving the MDGs, gender equality, halting HIV, advancing health and education and importantly in the field of democracy and human rights.
Almost 65 years ago, it was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which first established what have become the universal values: that human rights are inherent to all and the concern of the whole of the international community. Adopted in 1948, the Universal Declaration was a remarkable achievement, recognizing the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights, whether they are civil and political rights (such as the right to life, and freedom of expression), or economic, social and cultural rights (such as rights to social security and education).
Guided by the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations promotes the universal values of human rights and rule of law and works to ensure that the policies and processes of development are anchored in these values.
Human rights have little value if they are not implemented and given and protected for all members of society. The UN helps the Member States to implement their human rights obligations by translating them into laws and practices at the national level, and provides technical assistance for building and strengthening national institutions, which have a direct impact on the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law.
This year, we mark the 21st year of Azerbaijan’s accession to the United Nations and again this coincides with the 21st year of independence which was celebrated last week. Cooperation between the United Nations and Azerbaijan ranges from delivering relief aid to the internally displaced people and refugees back in early 1990s and onwards contributing to post-conflict recovery and eventual shifting focus on long-term development, providing policy advice and technical expertise to ensure sustainable growth across many sectors, generating decent work opportunities and improved incomes for all social groups and in general promoting sustainable development and the MDGs.
This cooperation includes promoting and advocating for equal access to quality services in the areas of health, education and social protection, as well as more transparent and accountable public institutions, which are staffed by professional and committed civil servants. Importantly this needs to be guided by the appropriate laws that are enforced by a responsive judicial system to ensure the rule of law and legal protection of the human rights of the people, particularly the most vulnerable segments of population.
United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, UNHCR, OHCHR and other UN agencies have been cooperating with various national partners to promote human rights in many areas such as policy development, advocacy, training, civic education, developing national human rights action plans, strengthening human rights institutions, promoting international human rights instruments.
The UN provides support to the Government to follow up the UPR recommendations, assist the Government, Ombudsman’s office and civil society to promote international human rights standards, including integrating disability management into national policies and implementation mechanisms. We help the Government to strengthen the operational capacity of law enforcement, criminal justice and custom practitioners to enable them to more effectively combat drug trafficking through a reliable network of data collection, processing, and analysis.
We welcome the decision of the Government of Azerbaijan on extending the standing invitation to the mandate holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, and remain committed to assist the Government in the implementation of Vision 2020 strategic plan, the MDGs and the Global Post 2015 sustainable development agenda and SDGs including the National Programme for Action to Raise Effectiveness of the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, which was adopted in December 2011.
The Ombudsman institution plays a key role in monitoring and safeguarding human rights and promoting human rights in Azerbaijan. Over the past years, several UN agencies have been cooperating with the Ombudsman’s Office and national actors, which play an essential role in advocating for human rights, including civil society organizations.
My UN colleagues and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ombudsperson for the excellent 15 years of cooperation with the UN and look forward to further strengthening our collaboration in the years to come.
Azerbaijan is emerging as an increasingly important player in Eurasia, Europe, and the Middle East and Azerbaijan, for the first time in its history, was elected for a two-year term on the UN Security Council in 2011. This election has offered an unprecedented opportunity to recommit to the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations and contribute to maintaining international peace and security, securing justice and human rights and promoting, in the words of the UN Charter, "social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom".
My colleagues in the United Nations and I look forward to work closely with the people of Azerbaijan and their Government in advancing sustainable and equitable socio-economic growth of the country, with much attention to the weaker groups and gender equality and helping make the important role Azerbaijan can play in the United Nations and globally in the near future.