Letter of Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, to Mr. Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO - Baku, September 3, 1997

Mr. Federico Mayor, I have attentively learned the Declaration, which shows how peace is important for ensuring human rights and duties, as well as for developing democracy; I want to share my views on it.

The 20th century, which is coming to an end, is a very controversial page in the history of humankind. On one hand, the development of science and technology helped improve the life of people, on the other hand, the same achievements were directed against the people. The invention of weapons of mass destruction put the whole mankind under a great danger. Though the international community regards the human rights as a universal value, they are violated in most of the countries; it is not only connected with the totalitarian regimes in some states. The main factor violating the human rights is the war. Wars violate the basic human rights, the right of life. Ward destroy cultural heritage, break the relations between family members, compel the people leave their homes and get into big troubles. Nothing can justify them.

Without peace it is impossible to observe the human rights entirely. But situation without war is not peace yet. Peace is a condition, which allows people to live with no violence and fear. We think that the international and internal aspects are correctly reflected in the draft of the Declaration.

Internationally, peace is the absence of war situation between the countries, as well as the existence of relations between the nations based on mutual respect and trust.

Internally, the notion of the "civic peace" implies to relations between the citizens and the government. Thus, the human right of peace is the right of living in security, as well the right of participation in the administration and getting full information on the foreign and home policy of the state. The policy against the interests of one's own nation or of other nation is unacceptable.

We believe that a democratic state, which ensures human rights will never launch a war. I want to note particularly that as a result of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, since 1988 20 percent of our territories have been occupied, over one million Azerbaijani citizens have become refugees and IDPs, tens of thousands people have been killed, our cultural heritage has been destroyed. However, Azerbaijan, leading a peaceful policy, achieved a ceasefire in the May of 1994, political stability and civil solidarity within the country, and wants the peaceful solution for the problem. I think that these prove how much Azerbaijan respects the human rights.

We consider peace as the most sacred aim of a man. Thus, we support its definition in the draft not only as a human right, but a duty for everyone as well.

Every person must perceive that he is responsible for peace. If anyone admits the possibility of war, then he stimulates its outbreak. But it would be ingenuous to think that peace will be established by itself; it depends on man. There has never been a common peace in the world. But it doesn`t mean that peace is impossible. If the idea is not real, it doesn`t mean that it is not correct. Therefore, all the countries, organizations, all the people must try to maintain peace.

Though it is connected with the policies of states, peace is also an issue of science, education and culture. One of the main factors of war is intolerance between people and nations. Intolerance may cause violance. Thus, our primary goals are to disseminate the ideas of peace, justice, freedom, mutual respect, humanism and equality, as well as to prohibit the agitation of war and the actions provoking religious, national, racial conflicts.

It is reflected in the last article of the draft that all the states must carry out constitional, legislative, administrative, economical, social, cultural and other measures to guarantee the human right of peace.

Undoubtedly, you are aware that the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan of 1995 and other legislative acts include many points connected with it.

The preamble of the Constitutiondeclares that the Azerbaijani people is faithful to the universal values, is eager to co-exist with other nations in friendship, peace and stability, to cooperate with them. Further, according to the Constitution, the Republic of Azerbaijan refuses war as a menace against the independence of other countries and a means of solution of international conflicts. According to the Constitution, the primary goal of Azerbaijan as a state is to guarantee the human rights and freedoms. Azerbaijan tries to improve the living conditions of its citizens, takes care of their social protection and the level of life, forbids spreading and agitating religions humiliating human dignity and which are against the humanism principles, defends people from any kind of discrimination. Taking into consideration the important role of the culture in maintaining peace. The Constitution guarantees the right of the use of cultural heritage, use of the mother language and maintaining the nationality, prohibits the agitation and propoganda provoking racial, national, religious, social animosity. These prohibitions are also reflected in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

We believe that despite the differences, all the people have the same historical roots, want to achieve the same goals. Even though the past and present of humankind are full of horrible wars, we believe in the peaceful future of the maknkind.

Devoted to this belief and wishing peace to the humankind, I want to declare that we consider the adoption of the UNESCO Declaration on human right for peace as a praiseworthy action and support it.

I want to assure you that as a democratic, legal, secualr state, the Republic of Azerbaijan will further follow the policy of peace and remain faithful to it.

Best regards,

Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Translated from the newspaper "Azerbaycan", September 4, 1997