Thomas Melia calls on to respect human rights

The U.S. delegation, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Thomas Melia, called on the Azerbaijani authorities to dialogue with civil society and the opposition. He told about it  at the press conference on 18 April  on the results of the  meetings with government officials, civil society activists and opposition members.

Melia said that during the meeting, he expressed concern over the arrest  for freedom of expression and assembly, and called  on to release  these individuals.

He expressed regret over the impossibility of meeting with the leader of the REAL, Ilgar Mamedov, who met last time. Melia said he would like to meet with Mamedov in jail, but did not receive answer to his request.

According to Melia, he called on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop the pressure on civil society activists, and remove obstacles for the activities of NGOs. He noted the importance of providing  condition for  the  structures  committed to democracy, and in particular the Free Though University.

Referring to the upcoming presidential elections, Melia said that this will be a good opportunity for Azerbaijan to show compliance with international obligations.

Regarding the future of the National Democratic Institute in Azerbaijan, Melia said that this week the representatives of this structure had meetings with Azerbaijani officials, and expressed the hope that the issue will be clarified.

Without going into the details of the negotiations with the Azerbaijani leadership, Melia called them serious and open discussions. Melia also said that  annual report on human rights situation in Azerbaijan will be released  tomorrow.–03C16/06-



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