Human Rights Must be at Heart of the EU-Azerbaijan agenda

September 24th, 2013

barosso

At a roundtable in Brussels today, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) launched its new report addressing the role of the EU in promoting democracy in Azerbaijan and called on the international community to take more effective action to stop human rights abuses in the country.

 The report, “Azerbaijan and the EU: A Policy Dilemma”(available see link at end of page) examines the status of implementation of EU commitments as laid out in the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA), and the EU-Azerbaijan action plan.

While Azerbaijan has committed itself to uphold fundamental freedoms, IRFS’s report says there is a vast discrepancy between the government commitments and actual events on the ground.

Azerbaijan has been in a downward spiral when it comes to democracy and human rights for many years. There have been numerous well-documented cases of human rights violations, particularly in relation to opposition parties, human rights defenders, independent media and youth activists. The run-up to the October presidential election has been marked by a sharp rise in policies designed to muzzle the political opposition and civil society activism.

“Through support to the on-the-ground work on democratization projects, the European Union has been helpingto promote human rights,” Emin Huseynov, CEO and Chair of IRFS said. “In the light of our new report, IRFS is calling on the EU to follow through with that process, in particular, byimposing concrete benchmarks for Azerbaijan in exchange for greater political and economic integration”.

The report is made possible thanks to support from a Danish NGO, International Media Support (IMS).

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

Azerbaijan and the European Union: A Policy Dilemma   bit.ly/15RK1Iw