To the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan - Baku, July 18, 1998

Distinguished Mr. Secretary-General!

I got acquainted with your letter. The issues you touched upon are important for all the countries.

We zealously celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the UN. One of the first documents in the sphere of human rights, the declaration characterizes the value of the universal rights.

The current evolutionary process of mankind features with remarkable changes in socio-political and moral sphere of the planet. Of course, these changes are positive and definitely affecting the international relations.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is not outside of the ongoing processes. Azerbaijan conducts its policy towards ensuring the universal values, such as democracy, human rights and freedoms.

Dear friend!

I think that it will be interesting for you to get acquainted with the successes of Azerbaijan in the recent years.

The adoption of the first Constitution of Azerbaijan by the way of referendum and the election of the multi-party parliament in 1995 were the most important stages in the process of democratization and establishment of a legal state.

The Constitution is based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the experience of democratic societies. The capital punishment in our legislation is a miserable remnant of the Soviet Union. In fact, since June 1993 no capital punishment has been executed in Azerbaijan due to my moratorium on it. Later that moratorium was turned into reality and led to its abolition.

Accepting the duty of the state to ensure human rights, I appealed to the parliament on the abolition of capital punishment on February 3; this humanist act was eventually adopted.

Abolition of capital punishment in Azerbaijan, which was the first act in the Orient, became a significant step in the establishment of secular, democratic and legal state.

However, the reality of our time is that the security of population is violated in many places, mostly because of wars.

Undoubtedly, a democratic state which ensures human rights, never wages a war. I want to emphasize that because of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan since 1988, tens of thousands of people have been killed, their settlements have been destroyed, cultural heritage has been ruined, family members have lost connections, over one million Azerbaijanis have left their homes. However, I declare that Azerbaijan intends to solve the conflict peacefully. At the same time, peace will not come itself. Wars threaten the whole mankind. Therefore, all the countries, international organizations, as well as each person is responsible for peace and its maintenance.

Leading a policy on turning human rights into reality, Azerbaijan has joined about 20 conventions on human rights, including the Convention on the Rights of Children on July 21, 1992, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women on June 30, 1995, and is adherent to its obligations.

As you know, a subregional conference on "Women`s rights - human rights, Women in military conflicts" was held by the government of Azerbaijan and the United Nations Development Program this May.

In order to create necessary mechanisms in the field of protection of human rights, I signed the decree "On measures in the field of ensuring human and civil rights and freedoms" in February and the order "On the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights", and assigned some people for organization of measures. I would like to emphasize particularly the confirmation of the state program on the protection of human rights, the establishment of a commission on organization of measures on the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the preparation of the program on the protection of human rights together with the UN mission to Azerbaijan, my proposals on the establishment of an Ombudsman`s office and a research institute on human rights problems. The cooperation program between Azerbaijan and the UN Human Rights Centre is due to be confirmed soon.

I want to assure you that we keep pursuing a policy on the establishment a strong democracy, not being satisfied with our successes. In such democracy every citizen will have right to live freely.

With best regards,

Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

"Azerbaycan" newspaper, July 19, 1998

Brief essays

Azerbaijan - International organizations

General historical background

Azerbaijan - UN

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - UN