Multilateral Relations
Multilateral Relations
Relations between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe (CoE)

The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation and was founded in 1949.

The objectives of the Council of Europe include the protection of human rights, pluralistic democracy and the rule of law, to develop and promote European cultural identity and diversity, to find common solutions to the problems facing European society, such as xenophobia, intolerance, bioethics and cloning, discrimination against minorities, terrorism, human trafficking, organised crime and corruption, cybercrime and violence against children, and to strengthen democratic stability in Europe by supporting legislative and constitutional reforms.

The main bodies of the Council of Europe are the Secretariat (led by the Secretary General), the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations. It consists of 47 member states, including 28 of the member states of the European Union.

The history of relations between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe dates back to 1992. Thus, on the 24th of January 1992, the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan applied to the Council of Europe for the status of “special guest”.


The history of relations between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe dates back to 1992. Thus, on the 24th of January 1992, the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan applied to the Council of Europe for the status of “special guest”.

  1. Strengthening the rule of law by deepening cooperation in the fight against corruption, including the falsification of sports games;
  2. Strengthening culturally diverse societies based on mutual respect and understanding;
  3. Ensuring social cohesion and social sustainability: more effective protection of the rights of vulnerable groups;
  4. Promotion of youth education in the field of human rights and democratic citizenship; to form a generation of responsible and educated young people and provide them with opportunities to exercise their rights.

In 2014, the Council of Europe’s Action Plan (AP) for Azerbaijan covering 2014-2016 was approved. Many projects and events in various fields have been implemented within the framework of the AP, which is an important document of cooperation between the Council of Europe and Azerbaijan.

The implementation of the AP was positively assessed by both sides, and as a result, it was decided to continue cooperation within this framework, and it was decided to work to agree on the next action plan. As a result of consultations between the Azerbaijani side and the Council of Europe Secretariat, the next AP project covering the years 2018-2021 was approved by the Council of Europe Representatives Committee in October 2018.

The first projects were launched in May-July 2019 in accordance with the new Action Plan. These projects will cover the efficiency of the justice system, penitentiary reform, and the fight against money laundering. This document, which serves as a framework for mutual cooperation, contributes to the support of the ongoing reform agenda in our country in various areas, providing access to technical assistance and the expertise of the Council of Europe in a number of areas.

In April 2014, the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe agreed to implement cooperation projects in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law with the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). Originally called the Programmatic Cooperation Framework, and since 2017 the Partnership for Good Governance (PGG), the EU is the main donor, and the organisation implementing the project is the Council of Europe. A number of regional and bilateral projects have been implemented under this initiative. The first phase of the PGG (PGG I) was completed in 2017, and it was decided to extend the initiative for another year at the expense of the remaining budget at the end of that year.
In the first phase of the PGG many regional and bilateral projects in areas such as justice reform, anti-corruption, cybercrime, human rights education, local self-government, freedom of expression and media, reforms penitentiary system, gender equality and so on.

In addition to a total of 14 regional projects, bilateral projects with a total budget of 4.9 million euros for Azerbaijan have also been implemented:

  1. Application of case law of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights in Azerbaijan;
  2. Improving the efficiency and quality of justice services in the Republic of Azerbaijan;
  3. Capacity building for combating and preventing corruption in Azerbaijan;
  4. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

In 2018, the EU made a positive decision on the second phase of the PGG, which will cover 2019-2021 (PGG II), and work has begun on projects to be implemented in the second phase. Thus, it is planned to implement 3 projects at a national level and 4 at a regional level. These projects are:

At a national level:

  1. Strengthen the fight against money laundering and asset recovery;
  2. Improving the efficiency and quality of the judicial system in Azerbaijan.
  3. “Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan.”

At a regional level:

  1. Strengthening activities to prevent and combat economic crime;
  2. Women’s access to justice: implementation of the Istanbul Convention and other European standards in the field of gender equality;
  3. Strengthen access to justice in the Eastern Partnership countries through extrajudicial mechanisms for victims of discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech;
  4. Strengthening the professional activity of lawyers in accordance with European standards.

The delegation of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan to PACE consists of 12 members, including 6 full and 6 substitute members. The head of our delegation is Mr Samad Seyidov, a member of the Milli Majlis, Chairman of the Committee on International Relations and Inter-Parliamentary Relations. According to the agenda of the session, the delegation puts forward initiatives in accordance with the interests of Azerbaijan, and actively participates in discussions on relevant documents.


The PACE Monitoring Committee’s co-rapporteurs on Azerbaijan regularly visit Azerbaijan to review the implementation of Azerbaijan’s commitments. During the visits, the co-rapporteurs hold meetings with various government agencies and exchange views on the existing commitments of our country to the Council of Europe.


On the 10th of November 1994, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted Resolution 1047 (1994), which expressed satisfaction with the achievement of a ceasefire on the Azerbaijani-Armenian front.


At the PACE spring session on the 22nd of April 1997, Resolution 1119 (1997) was adopted, which reflected the principles of the inviolability of borders in connection with the conflicts in the South Caucasus, the provision of security in conflict zones through international peacekeeping forces, broad autonomy status for Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh after negotiations between all parties involved, the right of refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their places of residence.


The delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan headed by Mr Ilham Aliyev participated in the PACE plenary session on the 24th-27th April 2001 for the first time as a full member. As a result of the consistent efforts of Mr Ilham Aliyev, our delegation, starting from the very first session, brought the results of Armenia’s policy of aggression to the attention of Europe. Thus, during the session, the written statement “Recognition of the genocide committed by Armenians against the Azerbaijani population”, signed by 29 representatives from 9 countries and 5 political groups in PACE, and the statement “Detained in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Prisoners of War and Hostages”, signed by 20 delegates from 14 countries, were circulated as official PACE documents. The documents highlight the massacre of the Khojaly population by Armenians, the occupation of 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia, the detention of 783 Azerbaijani hostages in Armenia, including children, women and the elderly in the occupied Azerbaijani lands, and other important issues.


In addition, documents such as “On the destruction of cultural monuments in Nagorno-Karabakh, the occupied territories”, “On the education of refugee and IDP children”, “On the situation of IDPs in Azerbaijan” and others were distributed at the PACE.


As a result of the continuous efforts of the Azerbaijani side, on the 25th of January 2005, the PACE winter session adopted Resolution 1416 (2005) and Recommendation 1690 (2005) entitled “Conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region occupied by the OSCE Minsk Conference”. The Assembly recalled that the occupation of a foreign territory by a Member State was a serious breach of that State’s obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and reaffirmed the right of IDPs to return home safely and with dignity. The Assembly also recalled the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993) and calling on the parties to adhere to them by refraining from hostilities and withdrawing forces from any occupied territories, asked the PACE Bureau to establish an ad-hoc committee, including the heads of national delegations of the OSCE Minsk Conference countries.

As a continuation of this process, the report prepared by the late Lord Russell Johnston at the subsequent meeting of the PACE Subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh on the 9th of January 2006 in Strasbourg, reflected on the facts of the occupation of Azerbaijani territories, the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, the expulsion of one million Azerbaijanis and so on.

However, the subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, established by Resolution 1416 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in fact suspended its activities due to the unconstructive position of the Armenian delegation.

During the PACE summer session in June 2008, a draft report and resolution entitled “Activities of Democratic Institutions in Azerbaijan” prepared by co-rapporteurs Andres Herkel and Yevgeniya Zhivkova were discussed on the 25th of June, and Resolution 1614 (2008) was adopted with appropriate amendments. The highlight of the resolution is that parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are in the interests of our country. Thus, the resolution in which emphasised that sustainable democratic development will be very difficult until the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is restored, refers to the UN General Assembly Resolution on the “Situation in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan” adopted on the 14th of March 2008, and which emphasises respect for its internationally recognised borders, and demands the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

At the meeting of the PACE Bureau held on the 28th of January 2011, a decision was made to restore the activities of the PACE Ad-Hoc Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh. Despite the efforts of the Armenian delegation to PACE against the continuation of the activities of the Committee, the decision to establish the body was made unanimously by the PACE Bureau (excluding the Armenian delegation).

On the 26th of January 2016, two reports on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan were discussed at the PACE plenary session:


  1. “Increasing violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan” prepared by the British Parliamentarian Robert Walter by the PACE Committee on Political Affairs;
  2. “Deliberate deprivation of drinking water to residents of the frontline regions of Azerbaijan” prepared by parliamentarian Milica Marković from Bosnia and Herzegovina on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs.

 Document 1 was not adopted with 66 in favour, 70 against and 45 abstentions, while the second document was adopted with 98 in favour, 71 against and 40 abstentions.
The main point of the report entitled “Deliberate deprivation of drinking water to the residents of the frontline regions of Azerbaijan” is that the Assembly unequivocally condemned the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas of Azerbaijan by the Republic of Armenia. The report also reflected the results of research, stating that the occupation of the Sarsang Reservoir made life impossible for about 400,000 people, destroyed farms, worsened the social situation, and the population suffered from thirst in the summer.

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