UN EVALUATES SITUATION OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN AZERBAIJAN NEGATIVE

July 31st, 2009
Human Rights Committee of the United Nations condemned Azerbaijan’s government for its failure to secure freedom of speech in the country.

According to Radio Liberty citing Associated Press Agency, it is said in the report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva by the Committee today, 31 July, “The Human Rights Committee is severely concerned about the deterioration of freedom of speech, the closure of newspapers and arrest of internet writers in Azerbaijan.”
The Committee states that journalists in Azerbaijan face continuous harassment and pressure and media is silenced via defamation and hooliganism charges.

Human Rights Committee of the United Nations called on Azerbaijan to end these cases, to take all measures to secure freedom of speech, and to immediately release imprisoned journalists and internet writers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, who were arrested recently.

On 20-21 July, within the framework of 96th session of Human Rights Committee of the United Nations held in Geneva, the representative of eight human rights organizations included in the South Caucasus Network for Human Rights Defenders (Law Education Society, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, Media Rights Institute, Defense Society for Women’s Rights named after Dilara Aliyeva, Institute for Peace and Democracy, Humanitarian Investigations Society, International Students Cooperation and Assistance to Free Economy Society) Rasul Jafarov submitted an alternative report about problems in several areas of human rights (freedom of speech, freedom of association, right to fair trial, discrimination and violence against women) in Azerbaijan and answered questions of the Committee members in connection with freedom of speech.