IRFS side event at OSCE PA: Azerbaijani parliamentary elections on the backdrop of journalists’ arrests and political prisoners

February 19th, 2020

Event by the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety

Azerbaijani parliamentary elections on the backdrop of journalists’ arrests and political prisoners

Thursday, February 20, at 13h15

Room 532, Hofburg Congress Center

The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety cordially invites you to our side event touching on the issues of journalists’ and human rights defenders’ safety, political prisoners and political oppression in Azerbaijan.
On February 9, the Azerbaijan people were asked to choose their representatives in a general parliamentary election. Unfortunately, like the elections before that, it was plagued with violations and irregularities.

Azerbaijan in general has a poor track record not only with democratic processes but also human rights abuses. The abuse of power from the authorities is affecting the country’s population, but especially those who dare put themselves in opposition with the government. For more than a decade the dissidents of those in power have been consistently arrested and imprisoned on made up and trumped up charges. Currently there are more than 100 political prisoners in Azerbaijan, among which unjustly persecuted journalists and human rights defenders.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan’s violations of the basic human rights are recorded throughout numerous reports from international institutions such as the OSCE and the Council of Europe. On January 30th of this year, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan after the failed previous attempt in 2013 where the vote didn’t go through because of a widespread corruption scheme put in place in order to stop the adoption of the resolution.

During the meeting, our panel of experts, with first-hand experience and with in-depth knowledge of the current situation in Azerbaijan, will discuss the issue of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience as well as journalists’ safety. We will especially focus on the independent journalists and human rights defenders who have been imprisoned for political reasons.
Sponsor: Mauro Del Barba, Italy.

Speaking at the event will be:

• Emin Huseynov – executive director for the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety and human rights defender
• Barbara Trionfi, Director of the International Press Institute
• Rubina Möhring, President of Reporters Without Borders (Austria)
• Mehman Huseynov, prominent Azerbaijani anti-corruption blogger
• Arif Mammadov – former Ambassador and Head of the Permanent Representation of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe