Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

European Parliament Adopts Resolutions on ‪‎Azerbaijan and ‪Belarus‬‬

10 September 2015


The resolutions of the European Parliament (EP) mostly focused on the human rights developments in both countries.

There was a heated debate on the situation in Azerbaijan in the plenary. The EP called on Azerbaijan to respect and implement its commitments as a member of Council of Europe and comply with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings. In line with these rulings, the Parliament called for an immediate release of all political prisoners, among them human rights defenders and  journalists, including Khadija IsmayilovaLeyla and Arif Yunus, while demanding to end immediately government crackdown on civil society.

The adopted resolution called on several measures to be taken by the European Commission "to review and suspend temporarily, if needed, all funding not related to human rights, civil society and grassroots level people-to-people cooperation granted to Azerbaijan through the European Neighbourhood Instrument” and for the EU Strategic Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan to be immediately put on hold until concrete steps are taken by the government to advance human rights.

In light of the approaching elections in Azerbaijan and in the conditions of a flawed electoral environment, the resolution recalled Parliament's decision to send a delegation to Azerbaijan and asked the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Member States to refrain from ‪election observation activities for the time being. From the European Commission side, Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos who spoke at the plenary stated that ‪the EU will pursue ‪its human rights objectives in EU-Azerbaijan relationship.

On a more positive note, the Parliament took into account recent developments in Belarus and its relations with the EU. A more active engagement of Belarus in ‪the EaP and the release of ‪political prisoners were welcomed by the MEPs. The EP also took note of a certain revitalization of EU-Belarus relations, marked by the launch in January 2014 of the negotiations on visa facilitation, the EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue on 28 July 2015 and the progress of consultations as part of EU-Belarus Dialogue on Modernization. Finally, the EP took account of the restrictive measures revision by the Council in July, as a result of which some Belarusian officials, companies and individuals were removed from the visa-ban and asset-freeze lists. In view of these developments the EP stressed the importance of further improvements in human rights situation.

The EP resolution called on the EEAS and the Commission to strengthen civil society through finding new ways to support civil society organizations and independent media from Belarus in promoting the democratic aspirations of Belarusians.

The EP urged Belarus to conduct the upcoming presidential elections in line with internationally recognized standards, by offering the opposition the possibility to participate in the elections on an equal footing implying equal access to communication means and the creation of independent election commissions with adequate representation.

The Parliament stated its support to the European Commission’s policy of ‘critical engagement’ with Belarus and its readiness to contribute to this policy via EP Delegation for relations with Belarus.  

EP resolution on Azerbaijan

EP resolution on Belarus

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