The Office supported a project that provided technical and financial assistance to Azerbaijan for the destruction or conversion of obsolete, toxic chemical missile fuel components in two storage sites, human rights training and the fight against terrorism. As part of the Offices assistance to Azerbaijan in the fight against terrorism, it provided human rights training to the armys Oil Pipeline Protection Department, detailing their rights and responsibilities under international law, the OSCE report on 2005 published in Vienna told, Trend reports.
The Office made considerable progress in 2005 on improvements to the police school building and the training programme. The school now has furniture in all classrooms and some teaching can now be undertaken in an atmosphere more conducive to learning.
The Office initiated two training projects for the Interior Ministrys internal troops and police, including a five-day practical training in public event control. This culminated in a demonstration of containment skills that are in line with international standards.
Together with the Young Lawyers Union, the Office launched public roundtables to promote the new anti-corruption laws. The Office also published and distributed the OSCE Handbook for Best Practices in Combating Corruption in the Azerbaijani language. Raising public environmental awareness. With an average of 75 visitors a week to its library, the Aarhus Centre was a hub of activity for environmental NGOs. In addition, it served as a venue for more than 50 public meetings. The Office launched a one-year programme to develop an environmental education programme for schoolchildren. The programme will train teachers and community leaders on integrating socalled Green Packs with environmental educational material into the school curriculum.
Public education programme for appeals to the Constitutional Court. The Office, the Constitutional Court and a domestic NGO launched a programme to empower members of the public to file individual complaints. Lessons and lectures were conducted in all areas of the country. The Office also commissioned local lawyers to produce a booklet outlining requirements for constitutional complaints. Monitoring the newly established Bar Association. The Office monitored the activity of the new Bar Association and lobbied for the admission of lawyers denied membership. It disseminated a report on the Situation of Lawyers in Azerbaijan, which highlights the critical situation of the legal profession, stresses the importance of the matter and requests the Government address the issues. NGO advocacy training programme. To help NGOs build advocacy and negotiation skills, the Office developed a new training programme and supported NGO-run training courses. These are designed to build a sustainable dialogue among representatives of political parties, municipalities and community-based organizations and to improve their skills in consensusbuilding and conflict management.
The key challenges hindering the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the regions of Azerbaijan are the lack of access to business training and micro-finance loans. Women, in particular, face significant obstacles in obtaining business training, capital and micro-credits, hindering their ability to launch and increase business activity. For this reason, the Office focused on entrepreneurial training for women in the rural regions. Beginning in January, the Office trained more than 200 women in five districts of Azerbaijan, culminating in a business plan competition with startup support for winners.
One of the Offices key priorities was to support talks between the authorities and the opposition. It brought the two sides together in May to discuss the basic values of democracy, beginning the first of a series of dialogue meetings on democracy. All the participants agreed on a nine-point framework for the conduct of political parties. In September, a second dialogue meeting brought together chairs of political parties, heads of regional Executive Committees and high-level representatives of the police and internal troops to discuss issues such as locations for demonstrations and pickets. During the meeting, participants were urged to seek dialogue among all actors involved and to draft an agreement before every meeting or picket. The agreement should describe who would participate, where it would take place and how it would be managed. Parliamentary elections.
In co-operation with the local media NGO, Internews, the Office produced a series of feature stories and debates under the title Women and Elections broadcast countrywide until the day of the polls. During the year, the Office hosted several gender roundtables, which were attended by international organizations, donors and representatives of embassies.