From the director:
Fourteen years have passed since the formation of the Society for Humanitarian Research (SHR). During this extended period of time we have had a chance to appreciate our activities, recognize our successes as well as targets which we may not be able to achieve. Even though complete success is difficult to achieve in Azerbaijan, where social processes are being strained, our organization has been able to reach its targets and realize a number of remarkable programs in a short period of time.
We succeeded in creating relationships with organizations in Azerbaijan and around the world. Our organization has been an active participant of numerous civil society initiatives held both locally and internationally. Moreover, SHR took an active part in the European Union Civil Society Forum in 2009.
Our organization has been registered for almost 10 years, since 2000. During those years, the organization’s activists have experienced challenging and joyous moments. They have always cared for the people who benefited from SHR’s activities and they have never relinquished their efforts in the struggle for democracy and human rights in our country. They have also been working towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
I hope SHR will continue to achieve successes in 2010 and will be a deserving partner in the creation of Azerbaijan’s civil society.
The Society for Humanitarian Research is a think-tank centre and a non-governmental organization created in 1997. The organization was officially registered on the 14 of April, 2000. SHR is a member of more than 10 local and international civil society networks.
The mission of SHR
The achievement of democratic changes through increasing and developing citizen activities, the protection of human rights and freedoms and the construction of more sustainable participation of citizens in the process of civil society building.
The direction of the Society’s for Humanitarian Research activities:
The protection of human rights:
– Providing free legal advice to the people;
– Preparing reports on human rights;
– Distributing information on human rights and providing training;
– Publishing the “Human rights” journal and keeping the www.humanrights-az.org internet site active;
The regulation of migration processes:
– Following the migration processes;
– Preparing reports on the problems affecting refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons);
– Conducting training in the communities;
Work towards Euro-integration:
– Analyzing the issues related to the European integration tendencies in Azerbaijan,
– Developing relationships with the European Union, i.e. “Eastern Partnership Program”, Civil Society Forum, and supporting the presence of local NGOs in that forum,
– Organizing meetings of youth with experts propagating European values,
– Holding training and seminars dedicated to Euro-integration.
The “Documentaries club”:
– Screening documentaries on human rights and peace-building followed by debates with the youth;
Participating in conflict resolution and peace-building processes:
– Analysis of the conflict;
– Efforts towards the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict;
– Preparation of policy papers on the NK conflict;
– Participation in peace-building processes in the region;
– Maintenance of the internet websites dedicated to the NK conflict;
Working with the youth:
– Holding training on defending social interests of the youth,
– Enhancing Euro-integration tendencies among young people;
– Exploring and enhancing development of cultural and educational relationships.
– Supporting self-organization of the youth,
“Window to Europe” youths club
– Analyzing the state of Euro-integration tendencies in Azerbaijan;
– Encouraging of Euro-integration tendencies among the youth;
– Distributing information on the European Union and its institutions amongst the youth;
– Exploring and promoting opportunities offered to the youth by the European Union;
– Organizing debates and broadcastings dedicated to the European Union and the youth on radio and TV;
– Promoting the “Eastern Partnership Program» amongst the youth by preparing publications, posters and brochures.
European Union Eastern Partnership Program Civil Society Forum
The Civil Society Forum of European Union EaP was held from 15 to 17 November, 2009 in Brussels. The ultimate goal of the forum was to support the intensification of integration processes of the civil society activists of 6 member countries of EaP (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine). Representatives of 14 organizations from Azerbaijan attended the event which hosted over 200 local and international organizations.
(Protection Committee of Women’s Rights named after D. Aliyeva , Azerbaijan Human Rights Protection Centre, Protection Centre of Religious belief and Freedom of Conscience, Legal Enlightenment Society, Azerbaijani Lawyer’s Confederation, Transparency Azerbaijan Organization, Ecoleks Organization, Economic and Social Development Centre, Gandja Agrobusiness Association, Freedom and Security Institution of reporters, Gandja “Knowledge” Society, Centre of Monitoring of Election and Teaching of Democracy, Economic Research Centre, AN Network, The Caucasus Research Resource Centre, Society for Humanitarian Research)
Debates on the thematic groups which are included in EaP were held during the event. Meanwhile 17 persons were elected out of the participants of the forum to the Steering Committee which included the coordinators of 4 thematic groups and 1 person per group who are the representatives of the member countries of the European Union. Six representatives of the EU countries were selected.
Importantly, Avaz Hasanov, the director of the Society for Humanitarian was elected a member of the Steering Committee.
“Civil Society Forum: Eastern Partnership and Integration opportunities”
A round table on “Civil Society Forum: Eastern Partnership and Integration opportunities” was held on 3 December, 2009 in Azerbaijan Media Centre organized by Azerbaijan National Committee Euro Integration, Avaz Hasanov, co-chairman of ANCEI, chair of the Society for Humanitarian Research shed light on the main goals and intentions of the forum held on 16-17 November, in Brussels. He mentioned that, the ultimate goal of the forum was to remove the problems of the society by bringing together the representatives of civil society.
Debates enabling the citizen’s active participation in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
In January 2009, SHR embarked on holding public debates in the mass media in order to create conditions for an active participation of citizens in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution. During the 1st phase, articles on various topics were published in “Azadlig” newspaper. During the 2nd phase, debates dedicated to topical issues of the NK conflict and negotiations processes were published.
The International Alert, an organization based in the United Kingdom, is our partner in this project.
The articles published in the newspaper:
To what extend does the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depend on the efforts of the mediators?
The responsibilities of the leaders in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the context of Azerbaijan-Armenia-Turkey relations.
What changes will appear with the opening of Turkey Armenia borders?
Is there solidarity in Azerbaijan society to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
The conflict decreased the degree of inner freedom of society.
Does Nagorno-Karabakh occur in belles-lettres?
Everything is all right in Baku. The negotiations are being held in Armenia and Turkey.
Articles have been published in “Azadlıg” newspaper and www.allaboutkarabakh.org
“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and belles-lettres of Azerbaijan”
The event was attended by young renowned writers and publicists from Azerbaijani fiction environment. It presented art and writing samples reflecting on the history of the conflict, the lives of the people before and after the conflict as well as reflection on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in cinematography.
“Armenia – Turkey relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”
A round table on “Armenia-Turkey relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” in the framework of “Making the people knowledgeable about the processes on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” was held on 12 June, 2009 by SHR.
The themes discussed during the event:
– Can Turkish-Armenian borders be opened?
-What will happen in case of opening of the borders and in case of keeping them closed?
-What are the potential benefits and threats for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict coming from the normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations?
The politicians, parliamentarians, NGO’s representatives and the representatives of international organizations debated over the solution to the conflict in the context of the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey.
“Kishinev Summit: The expectations of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”
A round table on “Kishinev Summit: The expectations of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” was held due to the initiative of the Society for Humanitarian Research and the International Alert Organization.
Rasim Musabeyov stated: “The negotiation process under Madrid principles is approaching to a final, positive or negative, that is yet another issue. But one thing is apparent: To keep the status-quo on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is getting to be more complicated.”
The creation of internet sites aimed at popularizing Nagorno-Karabakh realities and the preparation of information strategy
SHR carried out the project on “The creation of internet sites aimed at spreading information about Nagorno-Karabakh realities and the preparation of information strategy” since May, 2009. The project was financed by the State Support Committee to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan Republic. The www.karabakhblog.com website was created and the state of the information about NK was assessed in the framework of the project.
The ultimate goal of the project is to increase public awareness about the people, culture, geography, customs and traditions of Karabakh and to create the condition for the world community to be able to access more information about the NK conflict and negotiation processes.
Today, the website is among the most effective and informative websites. It is registered on most popular networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr. A video version of the site, containing the most resplendent archive on the current state of the NK conflict, has been prepared.
The project was praised the 1st place in the contest for “The NGO of the year” organized by the State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan Republic. Additionally, SHR took part in the “National net” contest organized by Azerbaijan Internet Forum and was granted 2nd place with a diploma.
Conference on the discussion of information casting strategy on Nagorno-Karabakh
SHR held “Brain drain” meeting on 28 October, 2009 in the framework of the project. “State of gathering and spreading information on the NK conflict” has been discussed. At the same time debates on topics, such as: “Successes and challenges in the direction of spreading information about NK”, “What steps should be taken in the direction of spreading the information about NK both in the level of state and civil society?” have been held and proposals have been voiced.
The employees of the Strategic Research Centre under the President of Azerbaijan Republic, AR Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, AR Ministry of Culture and Tourism, NGO representatives, the representatives of other organizations and journalists attended the event.
The Institutional Support Project by the Society for Humanitarian Research
SHR launched a project “The Institutional Support of SHR” in 2009 with the financial support of the Open Society Institute – Assistance Foundation (Azerbaijan). Information on the programs and projects carried out, the work accomplished towards developments on human rights and the solution to the conflict by SHR is being given to the activists and partners from Baku, Gandja and Barda.
The development of the www.humanrights-az.org is one of the main components of the project and it enabled us to provide the regions with information about human rights. Training on delivering information effectively by using social networks and internet broadcasting services was held for activists and partners of the organization.
Simulation game “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”
SHR and NISA (NATO International School in Azerbaijan) jointly organized Simulation game on “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” on 28-29 November. 30 persons from various universities and representatives of NGOs attended the Simulation.
The youth played the roles of the leaders by defining their influential resources and analyzing the overall situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the context of the South Caucasus and the region. The participants of the event were awarded certificates.
Holding meetings on Euro-integration topics with the youth
In 2009, SHR regularly held meetings dedicated to the European Union and Azerbaijan relations among the youth.
A meeting on “European and Azerbaijani notion” was held on 23 December, 2009 by SHR, Euro Integration National Committee and Open Society Institute Aid Fund. A philosopher Rahman Badalov answered questions asked by young people. Debates focused on the European values were a subject of the topic.
Local coalitions where SHR is holding a membership:
Human Rights Organizations Federation.
Human Rights House since 2006.
Transparency NGO Coalition on Mine Industry Mədən-eiti-az.org.
Young Human Right Defenders Network- http://www.yhrn.az.
International Coalitions where SHR is holding a membership:
Working group of the conference in CIS countries on the protection of the refugees and legislation since 1998
Caucasus NGO Forum since 2000
The Caucasus NGO Networks for Refugees (cringo.net) since 2001
Representation in the networks against racism since 1999 (unitedagainstracism.org)
Co-founder of the expert group for exploring the Crisis Management in the South Caucasus.
The Coalition for International Crime Court (http://www.iccnow.org )