New HIV law in Azerbaijan
A new law on HIV/AIDS was adopted by the Azerbaijan Parliament (Milli Meclis) with unanimous support from parliamentarians in May 2010. The law was elaborated by a parliamentary working group based on country specific recommendations for updating national legislation on drug control and HIV. These recommendations had been developed by national experts and supported by UNODC. The new law is human rights-based and focused on the universal accessibility of HIV related services. It ensures the implementation of evidence-based, large-scale and comprehensively targeted HIV interventions, including those aimed at drug users in the public sector and at persons held in custody.
Mr Ali Hassanov
Deputy Prime Minister of the
Republic of Azerbaijan, Chair of State Drug Control Committee
"Legislation and policies need to be balanced with effective and evidence-based measures in order to protect the healthcare of drug users and general society, including harm reduction interventions. National legislation and policy have to take into account the interests and needs of injecting drugs users and prison population and ensure access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care services and evidence-based information.
Support provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in development of new law on HIV/ AIDS was very valid. The challenge for HIV policy is to recognize the need to address not only HIV education and research into new methods preventing HIV transmission, but also to identify the social and economic factors that deprive individuals of the power to protect themselves against HIV infection. Efforts to address the socio-economic risk factors for HIV infection are a critical part of an effective strategy to reduce the spread of HIV in the years to come. We must take full advantage of the law and ensure its implementation by all concerned ministries and state institutions."
Ms Elmira Suleymanova
Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman)
"One of the achievements from the standpoint of developing a legal framework is the approval by Presidential Decree of a National Action Plan on Human Rights Protection in the Republic of Azerbaijan. It contains provisions on safeguarding human rights and legal education, the rights of HIV positive people. In the course of developing the new law on control of HIV-related disease, the Commissioner made proposals supporting the provisions of UN conventions and international legal instruments. The new law of the Republic of Azerbaijan assumes importance for realization of the Commissioner's action plan in this direction."
Mr Elsevar Aghayev
Deputy Minister of Health
"Measures on preventing the spread of HIV have been especially noted in the new law. This law includes special chapters on preventive work among the youth, migrants and high risk population group. Stigma and discrimination against HIV-infected people,
prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, prevention of HIV among groups with risky behaviour, drug users, ensuring medical safety and other procedures have a special place in the new law."
Mr Hadi Rajabli
Chair of Social Policy Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan
"Based on closer cooperation with UNODC in the last three years, the Committee has begun to work on drafting a new law and has created a working group consisting of representatives from respective ministries, medical clinics and NGOs. The new law contains for the first time prohibition of discrimination and stigmatization; programmes for harm reduction on prevention of HIV infection; prevention of HIV among risk groups and prison inmates; social protection of people living with HIV.
As a whole, I think that this legal act will play a very important role in controlling HIV/AIDS and a special role in society."