Human Rights Friendly Public Administration

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In XXI century public administration is something that has been through already centuries driven development process. In the realities of democratic building and development Azerbaijan have also set out certain goals and made certain achievements on the process of building effective public administration. Recent studies show that for the public administration to be effective, it needs to be human rights friendly.
To achieve that goal you have to take certain steps to ensure integration of human rights into the administration system. First you need to:
1.     work towards improvement of the human rights protection techniques and ensure compliance of the public and private sector with their human rights;
2.   adopt the program to counter measures that undermine the universal compliance with human rights standards;
3.    take appropriate steps to include the promotion and protection of human rights into all foreign and internal policy areas and activities;
4.    provide the conditions for the support of international human rights instruments as well as the national human rights initiatives;
5.     actively involve civil society into implementation of your human rights driven public administration;
6.      ensure the cooperation with human rights monitoring institutions;
7.      strive to provide equal opportunities for human rights defense.

This is a non-exhaustive list of initial measures to be taken to shape your public administration system into human rights friendly encasement. Since the UN Charter came into force in 1945, the process of integration of human rights into public administration has maintained its focus on ensuring the adoption and implementation of the international legal norms that apply to the state when they treat foreign citizens as well as own peoples. The process largely started with the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the two covenants that followed the Declaration in 1966 – the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. That process led to a large number of conventions being adopted in more specific areas of international human rights law. In this regards the states should consider themselves on a regular and ongoing routine whether there is a necessity for further regulation in that area. Azerbaijan as well is very active towards creating all necessary conditions to apply the international instruments on human rights. Even after you have established norms the challenge would be to turn the words on paper into action and concentrate on the efforts to implement effectively these human rights obligations in practice through your public administration.
Another matter that amounted to implementation was the establishment of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1993 and reflected the understanding of the states the role human rights play in international community’s life. Same trend continued with the set-up of the International Criminal Court whose main job is prosecuting perpetrators of most grave violations of international law such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Usually it is a job of the states to commit resources and efforts towards the follow-up on international obligations that demand compliance with these standards of implementation, including efforts in public administration.
Civil society, including international organizations that work independently are playing an increasingly important role in a networked world where more and more issues, concerns and solutions are of a transnational nature and require an international cooperation. Independent institutions make a great effort on national as well as on international level playing a role of watchdogs and promoters of international human rights law. And at the national level in their respective areas they become a source of invaluable expert knowledge. Monitoring, reporting and advisory functions on human rights are also a large responsibility of national human rights institutions. These institutions should be base on the basic principles embedded into the UN system to ensure that they have a comprehensive mandate for the promotion and protection of human rights, thus making the public administration more open to human rights organizations. UN bestowed mandate would mean that contributions of the aforementioned organizations will be considered of importance to the universality of human rights.
Thus government’s approaches in public administration should include high priorities to effective cooperation with civil society as well as with international and local NGOs and human rights organizations. Such cooperation should be of a great value to all the parties. The process of such cooperation should be considered in the public administration efforts as continuous and developing. In the end understanding of the importance of such relations between government and human rights institutions comes with results of the effective public administration. In this regards the support of civil society in human rights work on an ongoing basis is very important and should involve relevant organizations. In that sense next step will be to further ensure the outlined framework of promotion of the efforts in that area. All such measures would amount to the effective human rights policy towards public administration.
Political parties and parliaments that are acting according to the democratic rules are the corner stones of human rights promotion in public administration. First of all there should not be a tendency to ignore the parliament’s decisions as they are an important democratic factor. There should be assistance to political parties to better manage their mandate on human rights protection. Thus the governments should take considerable steps to intensify their support for these areas. The goal and primary objective is to establish responsible, transparent and effective political system of parties and parliaments. These steps are crucial to the consolidation of a civil society through the course of promotion of human rights in public administration.
Governments should by themselves as well as jointly with other states work towards promotion and protection of human rights simultaneously in bilateral relations with other governments and correspondingly – in regional and international cooperation. Added value should be extracted from the building of the framework where various actions complement each other thus enabling the government to synchronize its foreign policy with public administration in the human rights sphere.
Summarizing aforementioned principles it is worth noting that through the course of making its public administration more human rights friendly Azerbaijan was able to:

1. Strengthen its efforts to develop effective human rights friendly institutions and well-functioning legal system;
2. Strengthen its efforts to comprehensively implement bilateral, multilateral and international initiatives in the human rights area;
3. Take considerable steps towards strengthening the effect of the UN human rights activities on regional and municipal level;
4. Contribute to protection of human rights in courts and legal system;
5. Work to strengthen freedom of expression;
6. Maintain the significance of principles of the rule of law to human rights promotion and protection;
7. Strengthen the institutions that are of great importance to a effectively functioning law-governed society;
8. Take other necessary steps towards ensuring more human rights friendly public administration.

Making your public administration framework more accessible to human rights area is not a non-recurrent one-time only case. It is a long and always developing process that needs to answer the challenges and demands of time every single day. Keeping in mind the universality of human rights law and its standards may contribute greatly to the goal of making your public administration human-oriented.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)

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