BAKU: US Department of State issues report on Azerbaijan

Assa-Irada, Azerbaijan
March 2 2005

US Department of State issues report on Azerbaijan

Baku, March 1, AssA-Irada
The US Department of State in its 2004 report on Azerbaijan, said
that the 2003 presidential elections in this country fell short of
international standards and were marred with serious violations of
law.
The Azeri government is implementing a program on transition to
market economy, however, reforms are lagging behind and 2 million out
of 8 million of Azeris presently live and work abroad, the report
says.
`Armenia continues occupying Azerbaijan’s lands, including Upper
Garabagh. About 800,000 people were displaced during the war from
1988 to 1993. Armenia occupies 18% of Azerbaijan’s territory, which
greatly impedes the political, economic and democratic development in
the region.’
The report also says that although ceasefire was reached by
Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1994, civilians are still being killed in
ceasefire breaches.
`Six Azerbaijanis were killed as a result of ceasefire violations
over the last year. Moreover, 4,850 Azerbaijanis are currently in
Armenian captivity,’ it said.
The report, which also provided analysis of the human rights
situation in Azerbaijan, termed as an important step the release of
810 prisoners, including 55 political prisoners, on presidential
amnesty acts.
The US Department of State also said it is concerned over the current
situation with socio-economic, health, judicial and legal areas and
claims that epidemic diseases have taken hold among prisoners,
children and orphans.
`774 prisoners were infected with tuberculosis in 2004 and this is
related to their imprisonment conditions,’ the report reads.
The US Department of State highly assessed the commencement of combat
against corruption in Azerbaijan. It said, however, that no tangible
progress has been achieved in this area yet. `Bribery is particularly
widespread in law-enforcement bodies, which is a violation of civil
rights,’ the report said.*

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