IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Azerbaijani NGOs call EU not to forget human rights during meeting with Azerbaijani President on 21 June 2013
A coalition of Azerbaijani NGOs, many of them members of the CSF and the Azerbaijani National Platform, calls on the EU to use a human-rights based approach vis-à-vis Azerbaijan.
The coalition wrote a letter to the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who will meet with the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during his visit to Brussels on 21 June 2013. The signatories to the letter point out that while the energy security partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan is valuable and productive, "it should be rooted in mutual respect for human rights".
They outline the mounting pressure on civil society and opposition groups in Azerbaijan ahead of the presidential election this year, which should ensure President Ilham Aliyev his third term in office after a much criticised amendment to the constitution in 2009 eliminating the two-term limit. The NGOs underline that the current legislative framework does not allow for free and fair elections and that the environment for freedom of expression is declining constantly with now seven journalists and two human right defenders imprisoned in the country.
The Azerbaijani NGO coalition urges the EU to call on Azerbaijan to respect its obligations to guarantee freedom of expression undertaken in international agreement with the EU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the UN.
The full letter is available here.