Letter of Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Mr. Pierre Sanet, Secretary ‎General of International Amnesty Organization - July 17, 1998‎

Dear Mr. Pierre Sanet,

I express you my gratitude for your high appraisal to work carried out for protection of human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan.

Our country that have chosen the democratic, civil and secular state building as its way of development after gaining independence commenced to adopt laws on the basis of values recognized by international community.

The substantive guarantee to the natural and indefeasible human right to live in given in our country and deprivation of life is considered to be inadmissible. Hence, the abrogation of capital punishment in Azerbaijan for the first time in Oriental world proved that our country is a secular one.

Protection of human rights as an integral part of large-scaled democratic processes underway in our country is one of the issues of permanent interest of our state.

It is well known that the full respect of human rights is impossible without peace. Peace is such a situation when everybody lives without threat of violence and scare and their right to live in safety is ensured.

I would like to stress here that in the result of aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan lasting since 1988 some 1 million of our compatriots got their human rights violated. However, carrying out a peaceful policy our state managed to establish political stability and civil solidarity in the country, a successive and purposeful work was carried out for the protection of human rights and freedoms. I think that all these are evident examples of respect of human rights in Azerbaijan. Because human rights is a source that humanizes us. Being the basis of human existence and living together the human rights are not strange to any culture and are typical for all peoples.

Along with finding its real guarantee in our daily life human rights are reflected also in the legal normative documents.

For solemn celebration of 50th anniversary of UN World Human Rights Declaration in Azerbaijan I have signed a decree and adopted the agenda of events to be held in this occasion. Teaching of human rights to the employees of institutions of justice, judicial bodies and police, attorneys and professors of institutions of higher education specialized on law is envisaged in this agenda. I am confident that realization of these events will serve to strengthening of relationships between our government and Office of UN Higher Commissioner on Human Rights. At the same time, I have given instruction for signing of a cooperation program between government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and center for human rights of United Nations.

Moreover, according to the actual development stage of Azerbaijan, a state program on human rights protection aimed at the increase of usefulness of measures in the field of human rights protection was adopted.

Actually, our objective is comprehension of own responsibility by everyone for realization and protection of human rights.

Striving for turning into reality the human rights in one's life and in the society, the Azerbaijani state joined about 20 international conventions and agreements on human rights.

You are possibly aware of my giving instruction to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Republic by signing of the decree "About protection of human and civil rights and freedoms" to join to the Second Facultative Protocol of International Pact on Civil and Political Rights envisaging full abrogation of capital punishment, as well as other international agreements.

It is with a great pleasure that we cooperate with international organizations and non-governmental organizations acting in the sphere of protection of human rights. We will make use of all possibilities for the development of our cooperation with Council of Europe, OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, International Amnesty Organization, Helsinki Organization of Human Rights monitoring and other international organizations.

I can say with all responsibility that all work carried out actually in the sphere of human rights in our country and all values gained are based on the international norms and principles and the Republic of Azerbaijan intends to ensure the human dignity on the basis of these principles in the future.