Arrests of Azerbaijani journalists discussed at a "parallel event" at the UN

Arrests of Azerbaijani journalists discussed at a "parallel event" at the UN

Restrictions on freedom of expression and harassment of journalists in Azerbaijan on the eve of COP29 in Baku were discussed on June 26 at a "Parallel event" within the framework of the 56th session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Geneva office of the United Nations. The hearings were organized by Azerbaijani NGOs based in Europe - the Institute for Freedom and Safety of Reporters and the Institute for Human Rights.

"The "parallel event" addressed the broader implications of recent mass arrests of journalists in Azerbaijan for freedom of expression and opinion in the country. It was also discussed how these actions are part of a systematic effort to suppress dissent and control information. We linked this issue to COP29, exploring the deterrent effect that such repressions have on civic engagement, including the ability of local and international activists to advocate for meaningful action to combat climate change," Reporters Freedom and Safety Institute (RFSI) Director Emin Huseynov told Turan.

According to the RFSI, there are currently more than 30 journalists in prisons in Azerbaijan, and according to this indicator, the country is the "leader" among the countries of the Council of Europe, ahead even of Türkiye.

According to him, representatives of the Azerbaijani media, whose journalists are under arrest, were also invited to the event. In particular, “Toplum TV” was represented by lawyer Samad Rahimli, and “Kanal 13” was represented by Anar Orujev. They told about the persecution of their colleagues on trumped-up charges.

The representative of the  RFSI, Karina Pavlova, stressed that there are 300 political prisoners in Azerbaijan, among them 30 journalists. She focused on the cases of activist Famil Khalilov and journalist Hafiz Babala, people with disabilities who suffer in detention due to lack of medical care.

Diana Nazaretz from the IHR focused on the arrest of human rights defender Anar Mammadli. She stressed the obligation of Azerbaijan, as a country that will host COP29, to comply with its international human rights obligations. "There is no climate justice without human rights," she said. According to Huseynov, the hearing was attended by representatives of more than 40 states at the Geneva office of the United Nations.


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