Members of National Platform Turn to Authorities of Azerbaijan and EU

Baku / 24.04.20 / Turan: A group of representatives of the Azerbaijan National Platform of the Civil Society Forum's Eastern Partnership Program of the EU condemned the arrests of political and civil activists in Azerbaijan under quarantine conditions.

In their statement, they emphasize that authorities are using the fight against the coronavirus pandemic to suppress critical voices. So they regard the arrests on criminal charges of the opposition politician Tofig Yagublu, human rights activist and journalist Elchin Mammad, activist of the Popular Front Party Alizamin Salayev, and employee of the Azadlig newspaper Tezehan Miralamli.

A dozen more members of the PFPA and the Movement for Democracy and Welfare were arrested in violation of the quarantine regime and non-subordination to the police.

The authors of the statement note that the abuses of the Azerbaijani authorities contradict the obligations of a member of the Council of Europe and prevent the conclusion of a future strategic partnership agreement with the European Union and the interests of the Azerbaijani people.

The National Platform calls on Azerbaijani government to: release all those arrested in recent weeks; implement the resolutions of the European Parliament and PACE and release from prison all political prisoners; put an end to the persecution of journalists, bloggers, human rights activists, civil society activists and opposition voices for political reasons and ensure an atmosphere of trust in the country; remove legal and practical barriers created in 2014 for the work of civil society institutions in the country.

It also calls for the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the Council of Europe and other international bodies on freedom of expression.

At the same time, the authors of the appeal urge the European Union to intensify the dialogue on human rights with the Azerbaijani authorities with the participation of civil society. In addition, it is proposed to ensure the participation of civil society in the negotiations on the conclusion of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan.

The statement was signed by 28 representatives of civil society. — 06D-


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