PACE decides to continue monitoring Azerbaijan’s obligations while encouraging the authorities «to step up efforts»

Strasbourg, 23.01.2013 – In a plenary meeting of its winter session, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) looked into two reports relating to Azerbaijan. The report compiled by Monitoring Committee co-rapporteurs Pedro Agramunt (Spain) and Joseph Grech (Malta) dealt with the implementation of obligations and commitments by Azerbaijan.The second report by Christoph Strässer analyzed the situation with political prisoners.

Both of the reports were discussed and put on vote. Although the report by Agramunt and Grech was adopted with 196 votes for and only 2 votes against, the Assembly rejected Strässer’s report with 74 votes for and 125 votes against.

“We are deeply disappointed by the outcome of today’s vote. Through their intensive lobbying efforts, the authorities have been successful in deflecting attention from the true human rights situation in Azerbaijan. Despite this negative outcome, we will remain engaged with the Council of Europe to ensure Azerbaijan is held accountable for its human rights obligations” said Emin Huseynov, chairman of Azerbaijani NGO Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, who also attended the session.

“We urge PACE to utilise other relevant mechanisms to monitor and influence the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, particularly the situation of political prisoners” Huseynov added.

Other Azerbaijani human rights activists, who attended the winter session of the PACE, were Rashid Hajili, Rasul Jafarov and Malahat Nasibova.

Based on the report by Agramunt and Grech, the PACE encouraged the authorities of Azerbaijan “to step up their efforts to implement the legislation in the areas crucial for the proper functioning of democratic institutions” and, against this background, decided to continue the monitoring of the country’s obligations and commitments.

The situation with regard to basic freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association, “is preoccupying”, noted PACE.

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