Human Rights in Azerbaijan: Eight Months Before Council of Europe Chairmanship

October 1st, 2013

Press Release

October 01, Strasbourg On the eve of Azerbaijan’s presidential election and eight months before country’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) is expressing its concerns related to the Azerbaijani government’s rollback on civil and political rights which has resulted in a serious failure to comply with the commitments with the Council of Europe.

In its new report, Opinion no 222: Implementation of the Azerbaijan’s commitments to the Council of Europe in the field of fundamental freedoms, organizationraises alarm over the dire state of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression,association and assembly in Azerbaijan. The report has been developed with support from a Copenhagen-based NGO International Media Support (IMS).

“In eight months, Azerbaijan will run Europe’s official human rights organization. The Council of Europe must care who speaks on its behalf. We are not saying that council should prevent Azerbaijan from taking the chair, but take a tougher line vis-à-vis implementation of human rights commitments. If member states are allowed to get away with blatant violations and fail to comply with the Council of Europe rules and treaties, human rights become a dead letter”, says IRFS CEO and Chairman, Emin Huseynov.

Since Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europein 2001, the space to express critical views in Azerbaijan has been gradually and progressively curtailed.Human rights defenders, representatives of independent civil society organizations, members of the political opposition, activists, and ordinary citizens have all been victims of the current regime’s crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms.

IRFS calls on the Council of Europe as such, as well as individual member states, not to turn a blind eye to the human rights crisis in Azerbaijan and denounce the serious and persistent breaches of fundamental human rights and freedoms in this country.

For more information, read IRFS report,  Opinion no 222: Implementation of the Azerbaijan’s commitments to the Council of Europe in the field of fundamental freedoms.

For more information about IRFS (www.irfs.org) and IMS (www.i-m-s.dk) visit their websites.

For an interview with IRFS’s Emin Huseynov, contact IRFS press team at info@irfs.org