INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS` FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

December 19th, 2009
The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety declares that the claim of the Permanent Delegation of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in Baku regarding the illegal operation of IRFS in Nakhchivan is unfounded.

On 15 December, Ilgar Nasibov and Vefadar Eyvazov, employees of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre faced harassment in Nakhchivan. In addition, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety correspondent Elman Abassov came to the side of the event, and faced insult and threats. Elman Abbasov works at the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre in addition to working at IRFS.

Instead of conducting an investigation into the pressure and attacks against journalists and NGO representatives, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Administration began a smear campaign against the injured party.

The Delegation made unfounded claims in the statement regarding IRFS where it is said that the incident never happened.

The statement reads that IRFS operates in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic illegally, without being registered.

IRFS states that NGO Development Resource Centre Public Union was registered by the Justice Ministry of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in 2004 and IRFS was registered by the Justice Ministry of Azerbaijan Republic in 2006.

IRFS does not have a branch or a representation in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. There are three regional correspondents of IRFS in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. These correspondents – Elman Abbasov, Hekimeldostu Mehdiyev, and Mehman Mehdiyev work as correspondents in accordance with the laws of Azerbaijan Republic and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the demands of international conventions and acts to which Azerbaijan is the signatory.

IRFS notes that the work of these reporters in Nakhchivan was checked by IRFS several times and no illegal activity was ever discovered.

IRFS reminds that not only the representatives of media and NGOs, but also any Azerbaijani citizen has the right to have access to information that is not banned by law, according to the Azerbaijan Republic Laws “On Obtaining Information” and “On Information Freedom”.  

IRFS demands that the Permanent Delegation of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in Baku issue a refutation regarding its unfounded claims.

IRFS urges Nakhchivan AR Leadership to respect human rights and freedom of speech, to end harassment against civil society representatives and journalists, and to bring the perpetrators to responsibility.