History

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Name: Arzu Abdullayeva

Date of birth: 23 March 1954, Baku, Azerbaijan

Nationality: Azerbaijanian

Languages: Azeri, Russian, English

Address: 58 Sharifzadeh av., apt. 31, Baku AZ 1010, Azerbaijan

Phone/fax: (+994 12) 492-07-57; mob. (+994 50) 321-94-03

E-mail: [email protected]

Web site: www.hca-az.org

Education:

Degree Year Institution Discipline

Higher education 1978  Baku State University History

1973-1978 Qualifications of historian, Baku State University

1978-1990 Scientific officer, Academy Sciences of Azerbaijan

1997 International legislation on Human Rights, Oxford, New College

Chairwoman of Azerbaijan National Committee of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (ANC HCA);

Co-chair of International Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA);

Olaf Palme International Peace Award Winner;

Most important directions in activity: peacemaking and HR protection.

Activities:

1992

Arzu Abdullayeva visited Armenia as a member of International Peace caravan. It was for the first time after Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, when Azerbaijanian came to Armenia. The peacemaking process between both countries has started from that time, the role of Citizens’ diplomacy has risen. Women, active in social life were involved in peace activity.

In Baku (Azerbaijan) the conference “Women against the violence” was held. Anahit Bayandur (Chairwoman of Armenian NC of HCA) came to Azerbaijan for participation in the conference. She was only one participant from Armenia.

1993

In 1993, Arzu Abdullaeva and Anahit Bayandour were awarded the Olaf Palme Peace Price for their work in trying to break enemy images and their initiation of peace dialogues between the warring parties. Arzu and other azerbaijanians with whom she has been working in various efforts to create peace for many years have worked as participants in the Ben Lomond Peace Process, a process which has been sponsored by the Foundation for Global Community, Palo Alto, California, and the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation, Stanford University. These intellectuals and community leaders initially gathered in 1993 to participate in talks intending to create a new way of thinking about the Karabakh conflict and to find new methods to resolve the dispute. These talks have been held from year to year with continued reporting to the US Embassies in Baku and Yerevan and with the encouragement and positive support of Ambassadors Peter Tomsen and Richard Kauzlarich in past, Stanly Escudero, Craig Dicker in present.

These participants have met together four times for dialogue as a part of the Ben Lomond Process and some individuals have met together many more times in various international meetings. The first two of these dialogues was facilitated by Dr. Harold Saunders, formerly Assistant Secretary of State of the United States and participant in the Camp David talks concerning peace in the Middle East. The last of these talks, in Tbilisi, was facilitated by Craig Barnes and Samantha Schoenfeld of the Foundation for Global Community. These participants therefore have an extensive history of working together and have experienced personally the benefits of dialogue and have demonstrated by many years of committed activism that they intend to continue to work on this problem for as long as it exists.

The lasts of the four meetings of the Ben Lomond Process occurred in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September 1996 and in the June 1998, practical steps. One of these specific projects was joint Women institute by Women leadership and political studies as one of ways of confidence building. First time the project was supported by Soros foundation for one-year period, second time by US Embassy for 6 months. The idea was to educate women in confliktology, tolerance, multiculturalism, the rights of ethnic and national minorities and etc. for positive influence on public opinion. And same time because the actual knowledge in political sphere is necessary for modern women they were educated on these in Women institute too. In present time there is the plan to create Joint Women institute for azerbaijanian and armenian women.

Citizens’ diplomacy by Arzu Abdullayeva (Baku), Anahit Bayandur (Yerevan) and Karen Oganyanjan (Stepanakert) has resulted in the release of Babek as ‘youngest hostage’ of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. After an appeal by Arzu, transmitted by Anahit, Karen succeeds to get Babek Ijyasov out of the detention center in Stepanakert. Both Arzu and Karen take risks for transmitting the boy across the military front line.

ANC HCA together with CSCE diplomats (Minsk group) and ICRC field officers have reason to welcome Babek. The one-sided release marks a sign of trust and compassion in a deadly spiral of war crime and revenge, including indiscriminate hostage taking of children, women, elderly, mentally and physically disabled, etc.

1994

Three meetings has hold by in border Kazakh-Ijevan on confidence building:

- between armenian-azerbaijanian women organizations

- between youth organizations

- with representatives of young feminists of both countries

1995

The Nagorno-Karabagh Conference in Bonn issues an Appeal ‘Liberation of War Victims’, for release of all hostages and POW’s in the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.

This is the result of an informal meeting between the above mentioned citizens’ diplomats and OSCE diplomats (Co-Chairs and advisors of Minsk Conference), politicians, conflict researchers, etc. With support of the full Bundestag, its Chair Rita Sussmuth sends the Appeal to the Parliaments in Baku and Yerevan, and the corresponding body in Stepanakert.

The international political action reinforces the combined efforts of OSCE, ICRC, civic activists and ‘Mothers’, resulting in the mass releases in 1995/1996.

1996

Arzu studied on International legislation and dissemination in Oxford Human rights summer school.The International Seminar “Women responsibility in society” with International Women club ,represented by Ann Kauzlarich – economical adviser of US Embassy.

1997

After an exchange of letters through HCA Committees, Azerbaijan and Armenian ‘Mothers’ announce their willingness to cross the border and military confrontation line of Nagorno-Karabagh, for mutual visits to graveyards, ceremonies of commemoration, and joint ‘Trust groups’ for tracing missing persons and reburials of the death. OSCE observers warn that in view of ongoing shooting incidents and mining of the roads, such visits would put the lifes of the ‘Mothers’ at serious risk. Although the ‘Mothers’ are ready to take any risk, the action is postponed.

1998

Won of USA Government and European Union award for efforts in construction of civil society and democracy, signed by Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jack Santer ;

1999

One Azerbaijan mother, and many ‘Mothers’, expects the soon release of Agil Akhmedov, a disabled and wounded war prisoner, kept in Nagorno-Karabagh. This is the result of an appeal made by Arzu Abdulayeva, through Karen Oganyanian. On 5th February, during an international HCA Mission, the Stepanakert authorities promised to set him free on urgent humanitarian grounds and 10th March Agil Akhmedov was released.

Until now, numerous ‘Mothers’ appeal to the HCA Committees, which help them to connect across the borders. In informal ‘Trust Groups’, they fight for the truth and for the memory of their dear ones. The HCA Committees support ‘Mothers’ in the conflict zones of Nagorno-Karabagh and Abkhasia, and build up contacts in Chechnya and elsewhere.

Arzu Abdullayeva was chosen as a Local Partner of “Women Waging Peace” – A global initiative of the Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Hunt Alternatives, Boston, MA since May,1999. The Women Waging Peace Initiative is a global network of over 100 women deeply involved in peace efforts in the most violent areas of the world. Widely diverse delegations were selected from 10 conflict areas: Azerbaijan/Armenia; Boston urban neighborhoods; Colombia; Cyprus; India/Pakistan; the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; Northern Ireland; South Africa; Sudan; and the Post-Yugoslav region to create an ongoing and expandable global network; exchange expertise in coalition building across lines of conflict; sharpen political, media, and Internet skills; and brief policymakers and potential founders on their work. These women work to prevent conflict, stop war, reconstruct ravaged societies, and sustain peace in fragile areas. Launched in December 1999, at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the Initiative has spurred groundbreaking work bridging divides between communities in conflict, as well as those among policy shapers, academics, and grassroots activists.

2000

5th General Assembly of hCA was held in Baku (Azerbaijan) in 28th October – 02nd November. The goals of the Assembly promote stability and peace in the region: to strengthen co-operation between civic groups attending the meeting, to support current civic networks and to develop new ones, and to enable people to share information and opinions about their situations. The on-going and unresolved conflicts in the Caucasus must be balanced by civic actions, which prove willingness to co-operate and integrate on the level of civil society. The hCa General Assembly is such an event; amongst other issues, it would convince the authorities about the presence of active civil society in the region, which is able to offer efficient solutions for on-going or ‘frozen’ conflicts.

The Assembly attended by 750 civic activists from the Caucasus, Middle East, Europe, North America and the rest of the world. Representatives of the governmental institutions, international organizations, foundations and media will also participate.

At this Assembly Arzu Abdullayeva elected Co-chair of International Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly.

2001

The conducting of 3 days meeting of the relatives of missing persons from Armenia, Azerbaijan including Nagorny Karabakh conflict zone in Tbilisi. As the result the participants achieved the information exchange and prepared the lists of missing persons from both sides and have written the appeals to the leaders of the conflict parties.

In February 2001 the hCa Peace Prize was awarded to the organization of the journalists–veterans of the Karabakh war as the grant for the meeting in Georgia with the journalists from Nagorno Karabakh according of the decision of V General Assembly to establish the Association of the journalists-peacemakers.

2002

By the initiative of Arzu Abdullayeva established the ” Azerbaijan House ” (AH) . The AH is a representative multinational organization which should contributed to formation of national (polyethnic) idea, offer a civil society of the decision on the democratic device of national relations, show samples of achievement of the national agreement.

The main goals of Azerbaijan House are:

• The “Azerbaijan House “, as a structure of HCA, aspires to that rallying peoples of Azerbaijan the National idea, was liberalized. It is necessary to do it through realization of political rights of citizens, irrespective of their ethnic belonging.

The national idea should be socialized. It is necessary to do it through realization of social and economic rights, in particular through active participation of the state in realization of group rights of national minorities on maintenance of language and culture.

2003

By the initiative of Arzu Abdullayeva the COUNCIL OF NON GOVERNMENTAL, POLITICAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS ON ELECTION MONITORING IN AZERBAIJAN – “ FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS” was established.

The Council is consultative organ, uniting non-governmental, political and international organizations to facilitate fair elections in Azerbaijan.

The Council is consist from Secretariat, Finance group and several concerning substructures: Training group, Women coalition, Youth coalition, Press-Center, Alternative Information System on Elections (on the basis of PVT) ,Legal assistance and independent expertise and investigation center, Sociological and political science center, Azerbaijan House (ethnic minorities) “For just elections”, IDPs “For Just elections”. The leaders of this structures are represented the steering group of Council. More than 30 NGOs and 9 parties have joined the Council work, several international organizations participated on the Council meetings as observers.

The Voting staff worked on elections day, conduct monitoring by collection all data from Council’s observers in 4800 polling stations.

After the presidential elections, violence broke out amongst protestors disputing election results and the police. As a result of the violence and post-election problems, 624 people were arrested and detained without basis. The hCa worked extensively to lobby international organizations and national authorities to release the political prisoners. Most detainees were brutally tortured in pre-trial police detention centers. The hCa met with the General Prosecutor and with the Minister of the Interior, showed them materials concerning the post-election protests and lobbied for the prisoners’ release and the stop to torture. The same day, 111 detainees were released and most tortures stopped.

2004

The third Baku Conference on the dialogue between cultures was held.

The hCa continues to monitor the situation of the remaining political prisoners detained as a result of the post-election protests in 2003. It continues to lobby on an international and national level for the release of the political prisoners and end to torture in pre-trial detention facilities. It also continues to monitor the situation in detention facilities and provides information on continuing torture to the international community and Azerbaijani authorities to educate others on the existence of torture and to find means to prevent and stop torture.

Program on missing persons’ relatives, former prisoners of war and hostages in cooperation with IKV (Interchurch Peace Council)

Transborder cooperation in the region of Red Bridge between with financial support of IKV (Interchurch Peace Council)

31 august Commemoration Day of missing person was held and established.

CAC continues coordinating organizations (35 associated members) for free and fair municipal elections in Azerbaijan (17 November).

2005

MECA on Dialogue of cultures conference was held by assistance of His excellency Prince Hasan of Jordan in March in Amman.

Participation in observing General election in the UK at Cambridge constituency on May 5, 2005.

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