Aserbaidschan: Elmira Suleymanova

The important thing is to ensure that state policies, legislation, and actions are human-centered and serve the protection of rights and sustainable human development.

— Elmira Suleymanova

Elmira Suleymanova (born 1937) is a multi-awarded chemist who has not only distinguished herself in science but in public service as well. Elected by the Azerbaijan Parliament as Human Rights Commissioner in 2002, she has implemented programs that protect and improve the status of women and the elderly, displaced youth, the poor, and victims of violence. She also established the Azerbaijan Women and Development Center (ADWC), the only women’s organization in the country in consultative status with the United Nations.

Elmira Suleymanova is one of the leaders of the women’s movement in Azerbaijan. Since 1990, she has actively participated in the women’s movement for human rights and gender equality on national and international levels. In 1994, she established the Azerbaijan Women and Development Center, the only women’s NGO in the country with consultative status with the United Nations (UN). Elmira has initiated and implemented projects for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education, UN bodies and international NGOs. The projects covered the Rehabilitation Centers for refugee/IDP children, increasing access to family planning and reproductive health through community-based services and training programs in refugee and IDP communities. Elmira also conducted research on the improvement of the status of women and children, IDPs, elderly people, and youth in the transition period, whose living conditions were aggravated by the combination of poverty and violence. The first Social Resource Center (2001) for elderly people was her creation. She has also organized training, information, and education programs, workshops and conferences for women and children in close collaboration with several UN Agency country offices. Elmira heads the Gender Department, an NGO forum of over 100 NGOs. In 2002, she was elected to the post of Human Rights Commissioner by the Parliament of Azerbaijan. She has collaborated with ombudspersons from all over the world and was recognized as member of the European Ombudsman Institution. She is well known as an advocate for social justice in a young country that is facing many tasks in the areas of equality of men and women, political liberty of women, and social support to poor families under conditions of transition.

European Ombudsman Institution International Ombudsman Institution Azerbaijan Women and Development Center (ADWC)