29 October 2018, 16:43

Activists point to ineffectiveness of CE projects in Azerbaijan

For three years, Council of Europe and European Union representative offices have spent over 5 million euros on projects to support freedom of expression, fight corruption, and improve the quality of justice in Azerbaijan. The projects not only failed to achieve their goals, but also exacerbated the situation in the field of human rights protection, activists believe.

In 2015-2018, four projects worth 5.2 million euros were implemented under the Partnership for Good Governance programme, EU and CE representative offices reported.

The aim of the projects was to promote the development of "good governance" in Azerbaijan, without which the realization of the citizens' rights was impossible, noted Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Two projects on the European Convention on Human Rights and the combat against money laundering will be continued in 2019-2021.

Activists critically evaluated the results of the projects.

"If in 2014, there was not a single verdict on defamation (spreading defamatory information, note of the 'Caucasian Knot'), then in 2017, five persons, including well-known blogger Mekhman Guseinov, were sentenced under defamation charges," said rights defender Khadija Ismayilova.

She noted an increase in the number of political prisoners. "In 2014, there were 98 political prisoners in the country. In 2017, there were 158 of them, and now, there are 130," Khadija Ismayilova said.

The rights defender has also pointed to the lack of progress in removing obstacles to the activities of NGOs.

According to Khadija Ismayilova, there are no effective results and a project to combat the laundering of "dirty money."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 28, 2018 at 08:01 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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