Council of Europe calls on Azerbaijan to ensure freedom of assembly

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE) called on Azerbaijan to take measures to ensure the compliance of national legislation on freedom of assembly with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The CMCE noted with deep concern that the authorities have not yet presented long-awaited plans for the implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of “Gafgaz Mammadov’s group.”

The Committee notes that in over 30 cases the European Court has found numerous violations of the complainants’ freedom of assembly in the dispersal of unauthorized peaceful demonstrations and the detention of the complainants, as well as unfair sentences and arrests.

The Council of Europe recalls that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental right in a democratic society and one of its foundations. The problems identified in these cases, in particular the inconsistency of national legislation and practice with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, have been under consideration by the Committee since 2016.

However, five years after the first decision on this group became final, and the Committee’s previous resolutions calling for comprehensive information on the corrective measures taken, the authorities did not do so. In this regard, the Committee called on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately submit a comprehensive action plan for measures taken or planned.

The case of opposition activist Gavkaz Mamedov was the first of more than 30 complaints about violations of freedom of assembly in 2010-2014. and satisfied with the ECHR. The decision on it was made on October 15, 2015 and entered into force on March 14, 2016.

The problem in the implementation of these decisions is that the Azerbaijani authorities do not improve legislation and practice in the field of freedom of assembly. In addition, some claimants have not been paid or have not been fully paid compensation.

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