Azerbaijan, Baku, June 12 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/
The amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan were directed to enhance the efficiency of activity in human rights and basic freedoms, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Khalaf Khalafov said.
"Those reforms were directed towards strengthening the social focus of the State, enhancing the effectiveness of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and improving the work of the supreme State authorities, as well as courts and municipalities," Khalafov said during consideration of outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review on Azerbaijan in Geneva.
Azerbaijan had paid significant attention to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. In the preparation of additional comments, representatives of various ministries and institutions had been consulted, including the Ombudsman's Office and actors of civil society, the deputy minister said.
"As a result of amendments to the Constitution, the provisions on the prohibition of unlawful interference in private and family life, on equality, the rights of children, the right to freedom of religion, and the right to obtain information had been enhanced," Khalafov said.
With a view to improving the normative legal basis and institutional mechanisms, measures had also been taken to increase transparency in the work of governmental bodies and municipalities, with the adoption of a national strategy on increased transparency and the fight against corruption established through a presidential decree and stipulated in the national plan for 2007-2011, Khalafov said.
Azerbaijan had also accepted the recommendations with regard to further measures on the prevention of all forms of violence against women. In that context, the Government had implemented measures of a social and economic character into national legislation with a view to eliminating all forms of violence against women, Khalafov said.
"For instance, the definition of sexual discrimination was enhanced in the law on gender equality adopted in 2006, which was now extended to include "any demonstrations of differentiation and superiority for reasons of sex that limited or impeded equal application of rights", he added.
Further, he draft law on the elimination of domestic violence was currently under review in the Milli Majlis (Parliament), according to Khalafov.
This document called for a legal framework on violence and contained provisions on the establishment of rehabilitation centres for women and children who were victims of violence.
"Moreover, Azerbaijan also accepted the recommendations concerning the necessity of taking further steps towards the prohibition of corporal punishment and cruel treatment of children, as well as on the enhancement of educational programmes and measures on social integration for street children that were victims of sexual exploitation and physical violence," Khalafov said.
"In the discussion on Azerbaijan, speakers noted that Azerbaijan had taken many positive steps in a number of areas, including the fight against poverty, education and gender equality. The results of such practical measures and Azerbaijan's approach to the Universal Periodic Review had created all the prerequisites required for a positive development in the human rights area. It was also encouraging to note that Azerbaijan had accepted the majority of the recommendations made during their review. Speakers also commented on the situation of migrants in Azerbaijan; violence against women; and the protection of human rights defenders.
The following delegations took the floor on the outcome on Azerbaijan: United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Algeria, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Bahrain. The following non-governmental organizations spoke on Azerbaijan: National Commission on Human Rights of Azerbaijan, Human Rights Watch, Cercle de Recherche sur les Droits et les Devoirs de la Personne Humaine, Federation for Women and Family Planning and Al-Hakim Foundation.