The police in Azerbaijan detains an activist. Photo: REUTERS/Aziz Karimov

15 May 2019, 21:04

Activists criticize EU's reaction to human rights violations in Azerbaijan

In its annual report on human rights, the European Union (EU) has claimed persecutions of journalists and restrictions on lawyers' work in Azerbaijan. In this regard, rights defenders and oppositionists believe that the EU fails to make use of all the influence tools to solve the human rights problem in Azerbaijan.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in July 2018, the EU and Azerbaijan completed negotiations on partnership priorities, among which the topics of democracy and human rights were not named.

"Restrictions imposed on the freedoms of assembly and speech are still in force; while authorities are persecuting their opponents," says the website of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan. The practice of arresting activists and restricting the media freedom are also noted in the report.

The EU has reminded that Azerbaijan has its commitments as a member of the Council of Europe.

The EU has its means to influence the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, but it fails to use them, said Togrul Djuvarly, a member of the Azerbaijani National Public Committee for European Integration.

"Azerbaijan is the only Muslim country in the Eastern Partnership. At the same time, the authorities, despite the restrictions imposed on democracy, are in favour of the country's secular development. Some EU politicians fear that excessive pressure on Azerbaijan may push it towards Russia and Iran. On the other hand, they fear that Islamists may become an alternative to the existing regime," Mr Djuvarly has explained.

He also noted that such European countries as Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy, "are comfortably promoting their business interests in Azerbaijan and have access to the country's natural resources."

The EU should more actively respond to human rights violations in Azerbaijan, Elshan Gasanov, the coordinator of the Union "For the Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan", is sure.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 15, 2019 at 07:57 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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