IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Workshop of EMDS broken up by Azerbaijani police
The Co-Chair of the Civil Society Forum and Coordinator of Working Group 1 on Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability Krzysztof Bobinski expressed his solidarity with the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS), an Azerbaijani NGO and member of the CSF. A workshop of EMDS on citizen participation on public policy was broken up by the local police in Khachmaz last week. Mr Bobinski called such treatment for activities essential to the construction of a modern democratic society simply unacceptable. The fact that the people running the workshop, Gunaj Ismayilova and Javid Nabiyev should be threatened and detained for several hours and Mr Nabiyev even beaten by the police simply for moderating the seminar is even more unacceptable.
The incident raises a question mark over the democratic intentions of the Azerbaijani authorities. It also makes a mockery of the commitments the government has made to the Eastern Partnership programme and the Council of Europe as the seminar was part of a programme supported by USAID and the European Union with whom Azerbaijan enjoys cordial relations.
Please find a detailed statement by EMDS on the incident here.
The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) also issued a statement concerning the incident, which can be found here.