Short project description and overall objectives:
The Project is implemented by a German-Polish Consortium (German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Polish Human Rights Defender) with the joint cooperation of the Ombudsman Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, represented by Mrs. Professor Elmira Suleymanova. Besides supporting benefits by the Greek and Portuguese Ombudsman institutions and the assistance on budget issues by the GIZ, more than 30 high ranking MS-experts from seven European countries are working on this project as a multi-national team. The Project will last 24 months; the budget amounts to EUR 1.360.000.
The Project covers four different Components:
Component 1 concerns the specific capacity building with regard to the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
Component 2 considers the strengthening of the Institutional Capacity of Ombudsman Office in specific areas as diverse as the Rights of Child, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Rights of Elderly People, including the development of a modern Information Management System.
Component 3 involves the development and implementation of legal and practical measures related to a proper access to information, ensuring the fundamental right to obtain information and guaranteed freedom of information, whilst taking data protection and other limits of private and public interests in an adaquate consideration.
Component 4 concerns capacity building of Ombudsman’s staff on central and regional level by systematic trainings and workshops on legal and practical issues for more efficient administration.
- A long-term NPM strategy and action-plan has been elaborated in close cooperation with BC-experts from Ombudsman Institution enhancing the effiency of preventive measures regarding the inspection of detention centers like penitentiary facilities, places of confinement in psychiatric and mental health institutions on the basis of European experiences in these fields – including the creation of a innovative Database to enable an effective monitoring and reporting system.
- The project has supported the Ombudsman’s work with respect to an appropriate consideration of child rights, particularrily to ensure a better level of prevention and protection of children against violations concerning all forms of infringements, including physical violence and psychological abuse, moreover to improve the social situation and mobility of handicapped persons and to enhance the Rights of Elderly People including the protection against discrimination. In order to ensure a significant progress, the MS-experts have conducted comprehensive assessments on the current situation and delivered Strategy and Action plan with profound recommendations for each social group.
- The Ombudsman Office’s overdue concept for establishing a modern and effective Management Information System has been designed; as addition to TWC obligations, but considering the existing budget restrictions, the project team was assisting the Azerbaijani Counterpart to set the technical requirements as far as possible.
- Concerning right to obtain information a detailed law review on the existing Azerbaijani legal framework in comparison to the European rules and standards was carried out, as well as, a comprehensive assessment on practical problems of staff members of Ombudsman handling cases of information requests. Besides conducting some methodological workshops on processing information requests and dealing with complaints, the MS-experts have developed practical guidelines on the application of the provisions related to the right to obtain information. Furthermore the trainings on awareness raising for Press Services of state bodies were delivered.
- In order to enable the Ombudsman’s staff on the central and regional level to achieve an efficient and coherent implementation of regulations and guidelines in matters of human rights protection, numerous substantial trainings and workshops have been conducted by highly qualified MS-experts, foccussing on effective interview methods and handling of complaints, recognizing psychological and physical traces of ill-treatment, effective use of “Hot line” and in the fields of research, analytical skills, reporting and legislation analysis. Additionally, MS-experts have visited and delivered recommendations on improvement of the capacity of all Regional Offices of Ombudsman.
- Four study visits to different EU-member states (Greece, Poland, Germany, Portugal) have been organized in order to give selected delegations from the Ombudsman Office a valuable chance to become more familiar with the European practice and to share their experiences in different areas of work.