URGENT ALERT: AZERBAIJAN: DENIAL of Muslimah with Hijab Photograph in Passport applications.

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URGENT ALERT: AZERBAIJAN

For immediate release: 5th June 2000

DENIAL of Muslimah with Hijab Photograph in Passport applications.

Background
The authorities of the Passport Issue Department of the Ministry of Internal affairs of Azerbaijan have started denying the usage of photos of sisters with Hijab in issuing their passports. Their argument is based on a law ('Arrivals, Departures and Passports' in Section 6), which states that 'a citizen must present a photograph without a hat, in person's everyday outlook (glasses, beard, moustache etc)'. They are quoting 'without a hat' as having the same meaning as a head covering or hijab for the sisters. As a result of this a few sisters went to the courts to contest the decision. Judge Tahir Ismailov of Nasimi District Court ruled that the PID had to issue the sisters their passports eventhough the pictures were with hijab. The Nasimi District Prosecutor's office protested the decision and went to a higher court to get a ruling. The Baku City court ruled in favour of the earlier ruling on the 10th of August 1999. However the vice chairman of the Supreme Court Ms Gulzar Rzaeva protested against this ruling. The sisters went again to the Prosecutor General to appeal unfortunately they were declined.

The Religious Women's Rights Defence Committee organised a conference with the participation of human rights organisations and political parties and brought the issue to the fore. An 8-point declaration was jointly signed by all of the participants in which the issue of religious freedom was used as an argument for allowing women to be able to present their photographs with hijab for issuance of passports. The citizens' human rights, freedom of religious belief are protected under Azerbaijani constitution (articles 25,26,44,47 and 48) furthermore according to the 22nd correction made by the Committee of Human Rights of United Nations to 18th article of the International Pact of United Nations on citizen's and Political Rights in which it requires to respect religious beliefs, religious ways of life, outlook including specific clothing and right to wear a head cover. The law argument of PID officials in denying photograph of sisters in hijab that this constitutes a hat is incorrect and thereby should be change. Even the Soviet government before, did not deny the issuance of passports on the basis of having a photograph with hijab on.

Suggested action
Please write to the addresses below protesting this action and asking them to change the law ('Arrivals, Departures and Passports' in Section 6), which denies the basic human rights to muslim women in Azerbaijan. Also write to your foreign secretary to raise the issue with his Azerbaijani counterpart.

British Foreign Secretary,
Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP,
FCO, King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AA



Ministers in Azerbaijan:
1.MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.RAMIL USUBOV
ADDRESS: 7 H.HAJIYEV STR, AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 909 222; +994 12 909 515
FAX +994 12 909 929

2.MINISTER OF JUSTICE OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Ms.SUDABA HASANOVA
ADDRESS: 13 BUL-BUL AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 939 785; +994 12 988 508


3.SPEAKER OF THE PARLAMENT OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.MURTUZ ALESKEROV
ADDRESS: 1 PARLRMENT AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 982 881
FAX +994 12 982 363

4.SENIOR VICE-SPEAKER OF THE PARLAMENT OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.ARIF RAHIMZADEH
ADDRESS: 1 PARLRMENT AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 982 881
FAX +994 12 982 363

5.CHAIRMAN OF COMMISSION FOR LEGAL WORK AND STATE BUILDING OF THE PARLAMENT OF
AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.ZAKIR ZEYNALOV
ADDRESS: 1 PARLRMENT AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 989 730

6.CHAIRMAN OF PERMANENT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.KARIM KARIMOV
ADDRESS: 1 PARLRMENT AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 906 048

7.CHAIRMAN OF PERMANENT COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELATION AND
INTERPARLIAMENTARY TIES OF THE PARLAMENT OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.RZA IBADOV
ADDRESS: 1 PARLRMENT AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 989 751
FAX +994 12 989 272

8.HEAD OF THE PARLAMENT APPARATUS OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.SAFA MIRZOYEV
ADDRESS: 1 PARLRMENT AVE., AZERBAIJAN,BAKU
TEL +994 12 989 751
FAX +994 12 989 272


9.HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC
Mr.ELDAR
E-MAIL: ELDAR@HRCENTER.BAKU.AZ
TEL/FAX:+994 12 942 471
+994 12 947 550

Please let us know of any answers received. [END]

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