COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONCERNED ABOUT CHANGES TO MEDIA AND NGO LEGISLATION IN AZERBAIJAN

June 16th, 2009
(official statement from COE website)
Strasbourg, 16.06.2009 – We are very concerned about some of the proposed changes to the legislation regulating non-governmental organisations and media in Azerbaijan. Amendments as proposed, which will be reportedly submitted for parliamentary decision this Friday, may create serious obstacles for the freedom of expression and normal functioning of the civil society in Azerbaijan. They may even lead to the closing of the Council of Europe School of Political Studies in Baku.

We therefore call on the authorities to, postpone the decision on the proposed amendments. The Council of Europe is ready to provide assistance in order to ensure that any changes will be in line with the Council of Europe standards of democracy and human rights.
Samuel Žbogar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and Chairman-in-office of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

Lluís Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe