PanARMENIAN.Net - Citing reported attacks, harassment, threats and imprisonment of journalists, human rights defenders and others seeking to express their opinions, Parliament calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop suppressing the freedom of expression and assembly and to bring their legislation in these areas into line with international standards.
Parliament urges the Azerbaijani authorities to step up reform efforts in all areas of the judicial system, including prosecution, trial, sentencing, detention and appeals.
MEPs also criticize the expropriation of hundreds of properties and the forced eviction of thousands of people in the name of development projects, including those in the neighborhood of Baku's Crystal Palace, the Eurovision Song Contest venue.
European Parliament calls on the EU's High Representative for External Relations Catherine Ashton, the Council and the Commission to monitor the human rights situation in Azerbaijan after the Eurovision Song Contest closely and calls on EU member states to consider targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations, should these persist,” the resolutions says.
Baku was prompt to respond to this. Naturally, it blamed the European Parliament for conniving at Armenian lobby which “uses every opportunity to slander” Azerbaijan.
Frankly speaking, the Armenian lobby has nothing to do here: Azerbaijani authorities will do the whole job. Now, let’s see the statements of the Azerbaijani law-makers.
“I condemn the resolution passed by the European Parliament on May 24,” Milli Mejlis speaker Oktay Asadov said at May 29 session.
According to him, Azerbaijan strives for cooperation but sees no reciprocal moves. The speaker says adoption of such resolution in the EU parliament is beyond understanding, particularly, as he claims, after perfect organization of the Euronest session in Baku. Asadov believes an anti-Azerbaijani campaign has been launched, and called on MPs to voice their protest to this resolution.
MP Azay Guliyev said that mentioning the name of the country’s leader in the resolution is a “biased approach”.
Head of Azerbaijani delegation to PACE Samed Seidov who dubbed this EP paper as a result of actions of the Armenian lobby, suggested that the country’s ties with the European structures be reviewed. According to him, the Armenian lobby started acting and now seeks interference into their domestic issues under the cover of human rights violations in Azerbaijan.
A working group headed by deputy speaker Bahar Muradova is set up in Milli Mejlis to prepare a letter of protest against the European Parliament's resolution of May 24.
Actually, Baku has a very powerful ally - the U.S – that does not care for human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan; the only thing that matters are energy resources and Baku’s striving to get away from Russia.
According to Forbes, Reporters Without Borders ranks Azerbaijan 162nd in the world, behind places like Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, i.e. behind some of the most violently repressive regimes on the planet.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index places Azerbaijan at 140th 117th place in the world. Azerbaijan is, according to this measure, actually slightly more authoritarian than Belarus, a country whose leadership is scorned with virtual unanimity by all Western countries as being permanently stained by their dictatorial and repressive ways.
“The point is that Azerbaijan is, by any reckoning, not just an simple abuser of democratic rights and freedoms but a country that abuses these rights far more comprehensively than Russia. If US policy were genuinely aimed at promoting democracy, freedom, and the rule of law, you would expect it to take an extremely hard line towards a nasty sultanistic dictatorship like Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is an important energy producer and has been extremely receptive to Western geopolitical interests: it makes perfect sense to cultivate a close relationship with such a strategically positioned and economically dynamic country. But the stench of hypocrisy is overpowering.
Such transparent cynicism, basically a realist policy paired with a democratist PR campaign, works against American interests in the long-term. People in the region can see for themselves how selectively the United States applies its “values” and many will eventually come to the mistaken, but perfectly plausible, conclusion that American policy is never genuinely interested in democracy or liberty but purely at the expansion of power. This is absolutely not the case, many civil servants and State Department personnel, not to mention many people working at NGOs and think tanks, have a perfectly sincere desire to see countries become more democratic, but such extreme inconsistency in American policy is both dangerous and unsustainable,” says Forbes.
Well, hardly anything else can be added to the above-said. Just one note: over the past few years Baku keeps seeking for an “Armenian track” in all world media reports, which in fact reflect the reality of the contemporary “oil sultanate”.
Maybe they’d better consider improving their own image instead of fooling their people with “enemy images”, number one of them being the Armenians, of course. It is even ridiculous that the 9-million Azerbaijan fears a country with just 3 mln population. Perhaps, the fears are grounded then, and the defeat in Nagorno Karabakh war taught no lesson to the Aliyev clan.