RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN AZERBAIJAN MENTIONED IN NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED

May 12th, 2009
In Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, Vaclav Havel, former president of both Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, published an op-ed entitled “A Table for Tyrants.” The op-ed discusses the current process to fill seats in the United Nations’ Human Rights Council and mentions Azerbaijan.

In the article, Havel noted that both Azerbaijan and Russia are up for re-election to the Council, however these countries have poor human rights records.
According to Havel, when the council was formed, only countries that “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” were eligible to be members. “Now, it seems, principle has given way to expediency,” wrote Havel. “Governments have resumed trading votes for membership in various other United Nations bodies, putting political considerations ahead of human rights. […] Like the citizens of Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, I know what it is like to live in a country where the state controls public discourse, suppresses opposition and severely curtails freedom of expression.”
Havel noted that activists from both Russia and Azerbaijan have appealed to the international community requesting that these countries not be elected to the Council.
 
The op-ed can be viewed here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/opinion/11havel.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Vaclav&st=Search