IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Pressure grows on EU leaders to put human rights firmly on their agenda for talks with Azerbaijani President on 21 June
Several EU non-governmental organisations voiced their support for the letter send by a coalition of Azerbaijani NGOs to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy calling for the use of a human-rights based approach vis-à-vis Azerbaijan.
The letter send by several Human Rights organisations from Eastern Europe and EU member states calls on President Barroso and President Van Rompuy to prominently raise human rights issue in their discussions with the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. They remind that energy and trade "cannot take precedence over democracy, human rights and the rule of law".
The signatories to the letter demand the Commission and EEAS officials to follow-up on a resolution of the European Parliament form 13 June 2013 dealing with the arrest of the presidential candidate Ilgar Mammadov (see here) and to fully comply with the request therein. Furthermore, the signatories call on the EU to urge President Aliyev to release all political prisoners, to decriminalise libel and to repeal all restrictive laws with respect to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
A letter in the same spirit was written by the Warsaw branch of the Polish Association of Journalists (OW SDP) to President Van Rompuy and President Barroso, calling on them to raise the issue of human rights during the meeting with President Ilham Aliyev.
The letter of EU and Eastern European Human Rights organisations is available here.
The letter of OW SDP is available here.