COUNCIL OF EUROPE LEADERS CONCERNED OVER HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN AZERBAIJAN

April 25th, 2011
On April 25th, at the IRFS press center, IRFS Director Emin Huseynov and Democracy Monitor Head Fuad Hasanov held a press conference to speak about the meetings conducted on 12-21 April in Council Of Europe, Strasbourg.

Human rights defenders conducted meetings with the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, political co-rapporteurs on Azerbaijan Joseph Debono Grech and Pedro Agramund, Rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan Christopher Strasser, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg and other parliamentarians. Issues on the situation of human rights, freedom of assembly, speech, and media, political prisoners, physical assaults against journalists, and arrests during the recent protests were the focus of attention.
The Rapporteur on political prisoners is concerned about his failure to attain visa. “The Azerbaijani government has not given me a visa to conduct monitoring in Azerbaijan.  They responded to me that you might come to Azerbaijan as a visitor and that Azerbaijani authorities will not receive me as rapporteur on political prisoners. It is the first case in the history of the Council of Europe, that a rapporteur is not being given a visa according to his mandate. Even the Russian regime allowed the rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Chechnya to enter Russia, and provided favorable conditions for his safety,” said Christopher Strasser. Strasser also told us that he will continue his efforts to come Azerbaijan in near future,” said Fuad Hasanov.
Council of Europe Secretary General has visited Azerbaian as well, and expressed his will to meet with Preisdent Ilham Aliyev to discuss the situation in the country. However, the Secretary General has not received a response to his letter sent to the president of Azerbaijan.
Heads of the Council of Europe expressed their concerns that the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on Eynulla Fatullayev’s case has not been fully implemented by the Azerbaijani government.
“Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg touched upon the issue of Eynulla Fatullayev during the spring session of Council of Europe. He said that the detention of Eynulla Fatullayev in prison shows how grave the human rights situation in Azerbaijan is,” said Emin Huseynov.
The Council of Europe officials also expressed concern over the suspension of the operation of Human Rights House Azerbaijan and the National Democratic Institute.