-What was your last year's memory? What positive developments or vice versa have occurred during the year in the field of human rights?

Rəsul Cəfərov- The last year was not remembered by any fundamental changes in terms of protecting or ensuring human rights. Several steps were taken that could create more positive assumptions. For example, the release of a significant number of political prisoners because of the March pardon the lifting of the travel ban from journalists on the Meydan TV website and other sites and more. However, other political prisoners continue to remain under arrest, the general situation of the media has not changed, and restrictions introduced in 2014 in the field of civil society remain in force. This year there have also been violations of the right to freedom of assembly. In particular, the dispersal of two opposition actions organized in October, during which there was an unjustified use of force. Unfortunately, the authorities did not conduct a serious investigation into these events.

-In which of the areas related to human rights there are more problems? In places of temporary detention, remand centers, prisons, police departments, courts - in which of them are human rights most violated?

 -Unfortunately, in many spheres we face the violation of the human rights. Over the past year, torture, inhuman treatment, restriction of civil liberties, and violation of social and political rights have been observed. The courts have issued numerous unsubstantiated decisions. As for torture and inhuman treatment, they took place mainly in the police.

- What is the situation with political prisoners? What is currently being done in relation to their issue?

- Despite the March pardon and subsequent release on parole, about 100 political prisoners are still in custody. There was a trial in the Ganja case and observations show that the majority were arrested unreasonably. Three former riot police officers arrested in 1996 cannot be resolved, although the Council of Europe recognized them as political prisoners. They have serious health problems. As for the work done, I can say that the report of the PACE rapporteur on political prisoners is expected, based on which calls will be made to the authorities. Local human rights organizations periodically make calls for a radical resolution of the issue.

 -What is the international reaction to the situation of human rights in the country? Can it be considered satisfactory?

-International reaction can be stronger and more effective. However, one can consider satisfactory the activities of various CE structures, of which Azerbaijan is a member and to which it has committed, including such an independent structure as the European Court.

-Do human rights defenders have any consultations with the government regarding the human rights situation? Is there a joint search for ways out?

-We are interested in a dialogue with the authorities, in discussing ways to solve problems. In this direction, we always make calls. A few days ago, the head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the EU, Ambassador Fuad Iskenderov, met with representatives of civil society at an event in Brussels. We turned to him with questions related to human rights issues. Today, I again urge the government to organize such meetings within the country and we expect such an initiative from him.


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