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The international community’s approach towards Azerbaijan must be the same as towards Belorussia. Fifty five MPs of the Council of Europe have appealed to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) with a draft resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is not pleased with the Council of Europe’s questions regarding human rights and political prisoners. This was the main subject of the hearings on “Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe: Challenges and Perspectives” held on May 23, at the media center of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety with participation of MPs from the PACE. The hearings that took place with participation of the representatives of European institutions and diplomatic corps and civil society leaders focused on the difficult situation of civil society, human rights and independent media. Despite of the fact that the organizers had signed an agreement with the Flame Towers hotel and paid rent for conduction of the hearings, the hotel broke the contract at the last minute. It was also noted that, although economy is developing in Azerbaijan, human rights continue to be violated. The hotel’s refusal of venue for the event is in itself violation of the freedom of assembly. PACE members began by mentioning that the media and NGOs are working in difficult conditions in Azerbaijan. MP Tiny Kox drew attention to the discussions held with the President of Azerbaijan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister announced priorities during Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. We welcome it. But we've asked the minister to make efforts for restoration of human rights in Azerbaijan. It's not easy. But Azerbaijan voluntarily assumed obligations. Reports of the European Commission of Human Rights and decisions of the European Court indicate a large number of issues” Kox said. In his view, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov does not share this point of view of the PACE deputies. "The amendments made to the laws on freedom of association and assembly since 2009 are disappointing. Human rights are a universal value. All member states of this organization must respect these values. Azerbaijan, as the chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe must respect the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Country should be an example, "- said PACE MP Michael McNamara. He said that 55 deputies have introduced a draft resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan to the PACE, and it will be discussed at the June session. "In any case, Azerbaijan will be an example - either as a country that respects human rights or does not respect. In any case, the existence of political prisoners in Azerbaijan is not a good thing. Amnesty International reported the presence of 18 "prisoners of conscience" in the country. Yesterday the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Ilgar Mammadov. The decision stated that the pre-trial arrest of Mammadov was political in nature and pursued an objective to not allow his participation in the presidential election,” said McNamara. Azerbaijani civil society activists drew attention to the deteriorating conditions for NGO activities in the country. A criminal case has been launched against branches of foreign NGOs and local organizations. “Probably, new ‘surprises’ await the NGOs not controlled by the authorities,” said director of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, Emin Huseynov. “We want that international organizations do not belittle democratic values in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has democratic traditions. We even before the Soviet Union had a democratic republic. The country is in a big demand for democracy and liberalism. Azerbaijani citizen is committed to struggle for democratic and liberal values. Existence of a large number of people in jails is an evidence of that, "- said the head of the Center for National and International Studies, Leyla Aliyeva. “Azerbaijani human rights activists will publicize by the June session the full list of political prisoners with the reasons for their arrest,” said the head of the Legal Protection and Awareness Society, Rasul Jafarov. Representative of the Geneva office of the Human Rights House Foundation, Florian Irminger noted that while the organization has offices in Yerevan and Tbilisi, the Azerbaijani government has banned its activities in the country. He advised the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister to compare the country’s human rights situation not with other countries, but with international standards and commitments. According to him, Azerbaijan has twice lost the opportunity to improve its image in the field of human rights. This was before the Eurovision 2012 song contest and the presidential elections of 2013. The third chance is the period of chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. “But again positive changes are not seen. Several years ago, a prominent human rights activist was arrested in Belarus on charges of tax evasion. Now, Anar Mammadov is behind bars in Azerbaijan on the same charges.”
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Added: 2014-05-24
Category: Qanunun aliliyi
Duration: 0:05:02