Year of Graduation
State Policy towards Ethnic Minorities in Azerbaijan
Public Policy Department
This paper is devoted to the state policy towards ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan. The research goal of this study is a detailed and balanced analysis, based mostly on primary sources, of Azerbaijan’s policy towards minorities and of their reactions to this policy. Such analysis is aimed at finding out whether Azerbaijan’s policy towards ethnic minorities reflects the principles identified in the Constitution, the country’s laws and the international treaties of which Azerbaijan is part, and at understanding how the minorities react to the state policy towards them. In order to achieve this goal the following tasks have been fulfilled: 1. To analyse the legislation which defines Azerbaijan’s policy towards ethnic minorities, such as the Constitution, Laws, Decrees of the President and International Treaties as they are the basis of this research. 2. To analyse materials reflecting the government’s policy towards minorities such as reports submitted by Azerbaijan to International Organizations, officials’ speeches about this policy and its implementation and so on. 3. To analyse documents of NGOs and human rights activists’ inputs. To analyse reactions of ethnic minorities to the official policy. This allowed me a) To understand their perception of this policy; b) To see if the reactions of these ethnic minorities are the same. 4. To analyse the opinion of international organizations about the situation with minorities’ rights in Azerbaijan. My work is based on the interdisciplinary approach which covers social and political sciences. My understanding of “ethnicity”, “minorities”, “identity” and “policy towards minorities” stems first of all from theoretical approaches of academician V.A.Tishkov. I also used elements of the theory of ethno-social identity developed by H. Tajfel and J.Turner. As a theoretical basis of the dissertation I have also used G. U. Soldatova's works. My study also based on such principles of academic research as historicity and objectivity, as well as system approach to assessment and analysis of political processes. My research showed, that: 1. Neither the Constitution of Azerbaijan, nor the laws of the Republic contain any articles devoted to ethnic minorities. Both speak about citizens’ rights in general, mentioning minorities very rarely. However, not all citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan are equal before the law. 2. Minorities’ interests are taken care of by international treaties, which Azerbaijan has signed. But both the population and the legislators are not aware of the contents of these treaties, and their provisions are not realized. Even Presidential decrees are not implemented. 3. Not all Azerbaijan’s obligations to the Council of Europe have been fulfilled: it has not adopted the Law on ethnic minorities and has not ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 4. Minorities’ biggest real problems are connected with culture and language. Some problems, such as the supposed re-settlement of the refugees in the minority areas, are simply rumours. 5. Reactions of the minorities to the state policy towards them differ. Some minorities are fully satisfied, while others are not. 6. On the whole, ethnic minorities do not show their discontent with the government’s policy actively, and do not support organisations which defend their right abroad. According to human rights activists, the reason may be fear.