CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST ASIA
COME VISIT THE WONDERFUL AZERBAIJAN!
Azerbaijan is a unitary constitutional republic. It is one of the six independent Turkic states, being an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations. It is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. A member of the United Nations since 1992, Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly on May 9, 2006 (the term of office began on June 19, 2006). The country is also a member of the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace program. Azerbaijan is member of the Non-Aligned Movement, holds observer status in World Trade Organization and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union.
The Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion, and all major political forces in the country are secular nationalist, but the majority of people and some opposition movements adhere to Shia Islam. Azerbaijan has a high level of human development which ranks lower than most Eastern European countries but ranks higher than the Central Asian countries. It has a high economic development and literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment and intentional homicide. However, corruption in the country is widespread, and the government, which eliminated presidential term limits in a 2009 referendum, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses. On 1 January 2012, the country started a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.