Human Rights Council (HRC)
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is regarded as one of the most important multilateral frameworks within the United Nations (UN) system where political issues are discussed.
The Council was created on the basis of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/251 on 15 March 2006. It replaced the former UN Human Rights Commission. HRC meets for at least 10 weeks per year at the UN Office in Geneva in three regular sessions usually taking place in March (4 weeks), June (3 weeks) and September (3 weeks).
Except being multilateral platform for exchange of views over various aspects of human rights, the HRC also serves to monitor the implementation of the obligations of States deriving from international conventions and to issue relevant recommendations.
The Council collects data about human rights situation around the world through Universal Periodic Review process, special procedures mandate holders, working groups, fact finding missions and other mechanisms, and adopts relevant decisions and resolutions. It has also responsibility to put forward recommendations for the UN General Assembly in advancing international legal framework on human rights.
Being elected to the UN Human Rights Commission in 2005, the Republic of Azerbaijan, following the transformation of Commission to the Council, has automatically become one of the first members of the newly established Human Rights Council in 2006. Membership of Azerbaijan at the Human Rights Council lasted until 2009. It served as the Vice-President of the HRC in 2008-2009.
While holding observer status at the HRC, the Republic of Azerbaijan actively contributes to all deliberations at the sessions of the Council, including through delivering statements during the interactive dialogues, contributing to the drafting processes of HRC resolutions and organising side events dedicated to the topics pertinent to the agenda of the Council.
Top priority of the Republic of Azerbaijan in its engagement with the Human Rights Council is to draw the attention of the international community to the violated rights of more than 1 million Azerbaijani internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees generated as a result of the occupation of more than 20 percent of its territories by the Republic of Armenia, and to call upon the states to take necessary measures for restoring those rights.
Another priority of Azerbaijan at the HRC is to promote the implementation of SDGs in the context of the implementation of human rights obligations. In particular, relying on its national best practice in the field of transparent, efficient and accountable public service delivery, Azerbaijan, in cooperation with other states having established similar public service models, is endeavouring to highlight the importance of human rights context of the public service delivery at the HRC.
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Kenya organized a side event on the margins of the 35th session of the HRC (6-23 June 2017) dedicated to the topic of “Promotion of SDGs and Human Rights through efficient, transparent and accountable public service delivery: cases of Azerbaijan and Kenya”. Panel of the event composed of the representatives of both countries, researcher on governance issues from the Basel Institute on Governance, as well as senior representative from the Canada-based NGO of International Institute on Sustainable Development.
The Joint Statement initiated and delivered by Azerbaijan during the 36th session of the HRC (11-29 September 2017) on the same subject was co-sponsored by 80 UN Member States
During the 37th session of the HRC (26 February - 23 March 2018) Azerbaijan together with Georgia, Kenya, Thailand and Turkey submitted a draft resolution entitled “Promoting human rights and Sustainable Development Goals through transparent, accountable and efficient public services delivery” which was unanimously adopted by the HRC. The resolution was co-sponsored by 92 UN Member States.
The Resolution acknowledges that non-discriminatory, efficient, accessible, accountable and transparent public services delivery consistent with citizens’ needs and feedback is one of the key components in building an anti-corruption environment in the public sector and contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of 2030 Agenda.
Bearing in mind that the increased application of technological innovations and electronic services in public services delivery can play an important role in reducing corruption by promoting transparency and accountability and can improve the environment and tools necessary to foster public access to information on preventing and combating corruption, the resolution encourages States with effective models for the delivery of public services to share their best practices with other States, especially with developing States, through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation frameworks, and calls upon all States to establish, taking into account best practices from other States, as appropriate, a transparent, accountable and efficient public service system.
Under item 5 of the 38th session of the HRC (18 June – 6 July 2018) Azerbaijan delivered a joint statement supported by a cross-regional group of 126 Member States on new challenges facing the UN human rights system. The Joint Statement listed the expectations of the UN Member States from the new High Commissioner on Human Rights while underlining global human rights challenges including deteriorating democratic values, ongoing and protracted conflicts, inequality, poverty and racial and other forms of discrimination observed on a daily basis around the world.
In particular, the statement highlighted that while exercising duties in relation to the UN Member States, the new High Commissioner is called:
- a) to bear in mind the existing challenges and national contexts and circumstances of the Member States;
- b) to display more objectivity, independence and impartiality in his/her actions;
- c) to strictly uphold the UN Charter, UNSC and UNGA resolutions to respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of the Member States;
- d) to ensure that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated;
- e) to favour constructive dialogue and cooperation with the Member States and to support their national human rights programmes.
On the margins of the 39th session of the HRC (10-28 September 2018), to take stock of the recent examples of good practices, progress and efforts by States, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders, to link anti-corruption measures and human rights, including with a view to prevent and address the direct impacts of corruption on the full enjoyment of human rights Azerbaijan together with Ecuador organised a side event “The impacts of corruption in the full enjoyment of human rights at all levels” on 18 September 2018. Panel of the event included Permanent Representatives of Azerbaijan and Ecuador in Geneva, Chairperson of Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, representatives of the OHCHR, Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNCTAD.