A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out a second evaluation visit to Azerbaijan from 23 to 26 October 2017. The visit provided an opportunity to assess progress in the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings since the first evaluation visit by GRETA in 2013 (link to the first GRETA report on Azerbaijan).
During the visit, the GRETA delegation met Mr Vilayat Eyvazov, first Deputy Minister of the Interior and National Co-ordinator on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as officials from the ministry’s Main Department on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, Main Department on Combatting Organised Crime, Main Department on Public Security, Main Department on Passports, Registration and Migration, Police Academy and National Central Bureau of Interpol. Further, the GRETA delegation met officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meetings were also held with officials from the State Migration Service, the State Security Service, the State Border Service, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, the Guardianship and Trusteeship Body, the Commission on Protection of Affairs and Rights of Children, and the Council of State Support to Non-Governmental Organisations under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Moreover, the GRETA delegation met prosecutors from the Prosecutor General’s Office and judges from the Supreme Court and four Grave Crimes Courts.
Discussions were also held with representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and members of the Azerbaijani Parliament’s Committees on Human Rights and on Legal Policy and State-building, including the Vice-Speaker of Parliament, Mrs Bahar Muradova.
Separate meetings were held with representatives of non-governmental organisations. The GRETA delegation also met officials of the the European Union, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
During the visit, the GRETA delegation visited the State shelter for victims of trafficking in human beings in Baku, as well as a reception centre for asylum seekers and a centre for irregular migrants which are run by the State Migration Service.
The visit was carried out by Mr Ryszard Piotrowicz, Second Vice-President of GRETA, and Ms Alina Braşoveanu, member of GRETA, who were accompanied by Mr Mats Lindberg of the Secretariat of the Convention.
Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report, which will be sent to the Azerbaijani authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report to be published in the course of 2018.