AZERBAIJAN - Health & Education
Minister of Labor and People’s Social Protection, Azerbaijan
Fizuli Alakbarov Hasan graduated in 1980 from the Mathematics Faculty of Azerbaijan State University, and began working as a teacher at the Gokhmug village secondary school in the Shaki region. In 1990, he graduated from the Faculty of Economic Planning at the Azerbaijan National Economy Institute. From 1992-2006, he was President of the Improtex group of companies, and from 2003-2006 he was a Member of the Entrepreneurs Council under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since 1993, he has been a member of the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP). He was appointed Minister of Labor and People’s Social Protection on February 7, 2006.
As a result of the influence of economic opportunities on the life of our citizens, we have achieved sustainable economic growth supported by rising social wellbeing. As a governmental institution, our Ministry works with a strong focus on new achievements in the field of strengthened social policy according to the common development of the country. Our main achievements in 2012 were the improvement of an equal social security system for everyone, the establishment of a reliable mechanism for the protection of the rights of workers, the strengthening of the social protection of low-income citizens and their involvement in active measures for creating self-sufficient opportunities, and the transformation of our system to a more accessible scheme for each citizen based on international experience. One of the main aims of the policies implemented in Azerbaijan is to reduce poverty and, as a result of these policies, we have reduced the poverty level in the country by five times, or approximately 7%, over the last eight years. In 2011, we started “self-support” programs, which provide active support to poor families with certain potential to increase their income by setting up households. After one year, positive results were observed that guaranteed its continuation into 2012, and currently more than 281 families in 15 districts have been involved in this program. Moreover, we are working toward establishing a social support fund that can provide opportunities to gradually move people above the poverty line. The Public Council, established in 2011, was an important step in our cooperation with civil society groups. The Council is actively involved in all fields of activity, including the improvement of social legislation and the implementation of social programs. It is very important to be aware and to take into consideration the opinions of society in each activity, as well as to ensure the participation of the community and transparency in social protection measures. In early 2012, we established the National Tripartite Social Council on Health and Safety at Work with active support from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other social partners. This Social Council is focused on strengthening joint efforts for the effective protection of workers’ rights and increasing efficiency in the context of cooperation with major international organizations. Meanwhile, throughout the year we regularly meet with groups of citizens who benefit from our services, consider their opinions and views, and examine any cases of discontent during the provision of services, as well as their existing potential in order to identify any kind of active support. These factors are important for carrying out more task-oriented activities. On the other hand, in 2012, we have significantly expanded the processing of relevant services for citizens without direct contact with officials. In 2012, we succeeded in the areas of rehabilitation facilities, restoration, treatment services for martyrs’ families, and employment, in particular among the youth, as well as cooperation with international organizations and countries.
Azerbaijan has a flexible and purposeful policy related to the material and spiritual needs of people with disabilities. The legislation is regularly being improved based on global experience, international conventions, and the recommendations of public unions. People with disabilities, including children, have all social, economic, political, and individual rights and freedoms enshrined in the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons adopted by the UN General Assembly and in Azerbaijan’s legislation. Financial support to these people is being strengthened constantly. For instance, they are being provided with benefits, housing, cars, treatment services, and rehabilitation facilities. As an example, I can note that approximately 5,000 people with disabilities were provided with new apartments and more than 3,200 people with disabilities were provided with cars. The network of rehabilitation and treatment centers for people with disabilities has been significantly extended in the regions. According to state programs approved every year, consecutive measures such as the treatment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities and the meaningful organization of leisure activities, as well as the expansion of the Paralympic team, are being taken. In 2012, the following successes can be noted: recreation facilities for 1,000 people with disabilities were created; over 8,000 people with disabilities were rehabilitated in centers under the Ministry and services for 90 people were provided in Ukraine and Bulgaria; 100 people with bone and muscle diseases were treated at the Naftalan Treatment Center; and Azerbaijani Paralympians won 12 medals including four gold medals in six sports at the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games. Nowadays, one of the main issues for us is providing the means of recovery for people with limited working abilities. Therefore, we are trying to take social rehabilitation measures regarding medical institutions. I would emphasize that projects implemented in the country with the continued support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation play an important role in the integration of people with disabilities into society. I should also point out that service trends provide conditions for social integration, and the cooperation of specialized NGOs in this field is especially important. We have provided specialized community-based rehabilitation services on a regular basis to children between three and 12 with mental disabilities from over 120 families at their homes jointly through the Social Services Initiative organization. We can create the necessary skills and habits to eliminate mental and physical problems in these children. These successful projects created the conditions in partnership with specialized civil society unions to continue community-based rehabilitation services. Starting from 2012, NGOs were involved in work based on government orders. In general, together with care and support for people with physical disorders, we consider it important for them to join and be an active part of society and we are taking the relevant steps in this regard.
Azerbaijan is a country that has made great strides in reducing unemployment as a result of the implementation of socioeconomic development programs in the country. More than 1 million jobs were created in the last eight years, and the majority of them were permanent; this process continues successfully. As a result, the unemployment rate is around 5%.
Azerbaijan has become an attractive country for foreign specialists because it provides diversified and harmonious economic development, enhances the applications of advanced technologies, and is an important partner of global and regional economic projects. Certainly, the basis of our immigration policy is the right to choose available vacancies in the first place. On the other hand, the flow of cheap labor from abroad will not provide anything to the continued modernization process in our country. Therefore, our main goal is to create favorable conditions for foreign specialists who meet international standards and will be useful for the development of the national economy.
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