Azerbaijan to remove two more social barriers to equal cooperation with European countries
Azerbaijan, Baku, November 30 / Trend /
Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Center Head
European living standards have become guidelines for Azerbaijan in 2004, when the country joined 18 of 31 articles of the European Social Charter. Joining this document was Azerbaijan's necessary commitment to the Council of Europe.
According to the terms of the Council of Europe, the country is considered attached to the Charter if it ratifies at least 16 articles. About 9 articles - "Right to work," "Right to organization," "Right to collective talks", "Right of children and young people to protection," "Right to social security", "Right to social and medical assistance", "Right to social, legal and economic protection of the family", "Right of workers - migrants and their families to protection and assistance", "Right to equal opportunities and equal appeal in employment without discrimination on gender" are necessary and fundamental.
Azerbaijan easily joined 18 articles of the Charter. In most cases, they corresponded to the level of guarantees provided by the Azerbaijani law and envisaged by the international treaties of the Azerbaijani Republic. For example, labor, social and economic rights of employees and employers in labor relations with the relevant laws and a minimum level of guarantees related to these rights are fixed in the Azerbaijani Labor Code.
While signing and ratifying the treaty, Azerbaijan did not include the articles and items that it found difficult to fulfill in its obligations. The country's socio-economic situation, the level of living standards of the population, the systems of ensuring guarantees and protecting economic and social rights of citizens and a gap in the legislative base, especially in the field of social protection of the population (especially unemployed), required time and much efforts from the legislative and executive branches, and reviewing a number of legal provisions.
Thus, Azerbaijan was not ready to join the articles related to social assistance and protection of people with disabilities, old people, migrant workers and their families seven years ago. The state was required to assist this category of citizens in the full social integration for them to be full members of society by providing them with social services and housing in all these articles. The problem with housing was also one of the most difficult for the state. So, it refused from joining the Article 31 "Right to housing" of the Charter.
For the same reason, Azerbaijan refused from joining the Article 30 "Right to protection against poverty and social ostracism", where the problem is solved by providing people living in poverty and social ostracism, with jobs, houses, medical care, cultural values, education.
The lack of funds for full implementation of all measures envisaged by the legislation turned the implementation of the Article 17 of the European Social Charter (ESC) "Right of children and young people to social, legal and economic protection" into a problem. In general, the Azerbaijani legislation provides children with the necessary protection and assistance and protects from neglect, violence and exploitation. It provides special measures to protect orphans and disabled children. It also provides health and education, including vocational one. However, the measures are required to improve facilities for orphans and disabled children, organizations providing children with expensive medical care.
The incompleteness of the reform in the education system kept the government from joining the Article 10 "Right to vocational training". The fulfillment of paragraph 1 of this article involves providing all people with technical and vocational training, including those with disabilities, as well as providing funds, giving access to higher technical and university education, based solely on individual capabilities.
Besides the financial difficulties, many articles of the Charter were not ratified because the state could not commit itself for the private sector to follow the conditions of the Charter.
For example, the ESC Article 2 "Right to fair working conditions", paragraph 2 includes providing with minimum 4 weeks of annual paid vacation. Although this condition and the other items of the article are fully consistent with the Azerbaijani Labor Code, the Parliament expressed the country's unwillingness to commit itself by providing employees of all agencies, including public and private, with the possibility for a compulsory a four-week paid vacation.
Azerbaijan promised to ratify the remaining 13 articles of the Charter during its economic development. This promise is being kept.
Azerbaijan discusses the possibility of joining the two other articles of the European Social Charter, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection Ilgar Rahimov told media today.
"We are now considering joining other articles of the Charter," he said. "Today we planned to discuss Azerbaijan's joining two more articles - the first is related to the social integration of disabled persons, the second - with the rights of migrant workers."
He said that joining the rest articles of the Charter will be gradual.
The compliance with the provisions of the Charter includes submitting the governmental reports on compliance with the country's provisions of the Charter to the Council of Europe every two years. This makes it possible to determine the compliance with Azerbaijan's law and practice to European standards, as well as the ways to further improve this area. Azerbaijan's full joining the European Social Charter will strengthen the country's position in the international arena, and make equal cooperation with European countries within the European Union closer.