A participant of the action on the anniversary of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

13 July 2018, 11:28

Rights defenders: for oil and gas, EU turns a blind eye on rights violations in Azerbaijan

The European Union and Azerbaijan have finished negotiations on the priorities of the partnership. Meanwhile, the issue of democracy and human rights is not mentioned among the main areas of cooperation.

On May 16, the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted recommendations on the negotiations on an agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan, according to which the new agreement should contribute to the fight against corruption and be aimed at progress in respect of fundamental freedoms in the country. The experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" said that the EU would not be able to ignore the topic of human rights in Azerbaijan.

In 2018, Azerbaijan was ranked the 162nd out of 180 in the press freedom rating prepared by the Reporters Without Borders (RWB). The NGO called the situation with press freedom in the country "very bad."

According to the document, the parties identified four main areas of cooperation, including strengthening of governance institutions and fight against corruption, economic development, energy efficiency and climate, as well as support for education and human capital.

Human rights are pushed aside in favour of energy interests, believes Elshan Gasanov, the head of the Monitoring Centre for Political Prisoners. According to him, such a position will encourage pressure on human rights and repression against those who criticize power.

Ogtai Gyulyalyev, a coordinator of the Centre for the Protection of Political Prisoners, also voiced his disappointment with the agreement on partnership priorities.

With regard to the lack of human rights among the priorities, the parties have compromised, believes Eldar Namazov, the head of the non-governmental Centre for Strategic Studies. In general, the document raises the issue of human rights, Eldar Namazov noted.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 12, 2018 at 06:58 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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