IRFS’ Emin Huseynov has called for sanctions against Azerbaijan authorities to address wide-spread human rights violations in the country. Huseynov spoke at the roundtable on shrinking space for civil society in Azerbaijan and Russia – lively, provocative discussion organized as by a group of NGOs at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), sponsored by MPs Mailis Reps (Estonia) and Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg).
“I cannot accept that so many remain in prison and Europe doesn’t react strongly. The reason Azerbaijan continues the crackdown is that nobody, including the Council of Europe, takes any serious action,” Huseynov said.
“Too many human rights defenders are paying a high price for their work and their fate should receive much greater attention from the Council of Europe’s institutions and member states”, said MP Mailis Reps.
Rapporteur Yves Cruchten, author of the draft resolution Preventing Inappropriate Restrictions on NGO Activities, made a sharp conclusion: “When a member of a parliament decides to join PACE, this MP makes a pledge to human rights. We need to speak up and not let our governments make deals that disregard human rights.”
For years, IRFS’ reporting has been instrumental in terms of bringing the issues of human rights violations in Azerbaijan to the attention of decision makers in the Council of Europe institutions.
When Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe on 25 January 2001, it agreed not only to honor the obligations incumbent on all member states under Article 3 of the organization’s Statute, but also to a number of specific commitments, set out in Opinion No. 222 (2000) on Azerbaijan’s application for membership of the Council of Europe.
Despite hopes that accession to the Council of Europe in 2001 would have had a significant influence on the development of fundamental rights within the country, Azerbaijani citizens continue to suffer diverse forms of repression and violations that affect nearly the entire spectrum of their human rights.
The Azerbaijani authorities continue to act in blatant disregard to their commitments, which were the basis of Opinion No. 222 (2000) on Azerbaijan’s request for membership.