PACE Co-Rapporteurs Point Out Toughening of Azerbaijani Legislation


Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:39

And the Lezgins and Avars held the First International Conference in Moscow
The Summit of the European People’s Party held in Yerevan within the
Eastern Partnership program, the RA achievements towards European
integration, as well as the recent speeches of the delegation of the
RA NA Armenia-EU Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in Brussels
caused the neighboring country’s concern.

But, this is only what concerns Armenia; the Azerbaijanis living
outside Azerbaijan continue sending obviously warning signals to
President Aliyev that the old methods of governance in the country is
no longer possible, since Azerbaijan has no proper rating at the
international arena.

Official Baku’s anxiety increased when an international conference was
held two weeks ago in Moscow to discuss the Lezgin and Avar people’s
problems and the ways of their solution.

Before recalling the above mentioned developments, it should be noted
that diametrically opposite views on the international image of
Armenia and Azerbaijan are formed at international platforms, which
cannot be separated from the process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict
peaceful settlement. In the context of democratic institutions
development, Armenia’s achievements are hailed by the international
community, while Azerbaijan is definitely seen as an Eastern
tyrannical state, which causes the complaints of not only the people
of other nationalities living within that country, but, first and
foremost, of its own citizens. The steps taken by the Aliyev clan for
keeping its power at any cost give rise to negative responds,
especially by the Azerbaijani community of the Russian Federation. One
of the recent notable events was the resignation of deputy chairman of
the Azerbaijanis’ AzerRus National-Cultural Federal Autonomy Mirashraf
Fatiyev. The differences between the latter and the organization’s
chairman Soyun Sadikov related to the policy of the Azerbaijani
authorities. In an interview to the Azerbaijani mass media, Fatiyev
said, `I cannot tolerate that the organization’s chairman Soyun
Sadikov can afford to sit side by side with Fahraddin Aboszade and
Arif Kerimov at the events. The Kremlin accepts Soyun Sadikov as one
of their people’. To remind, F. Aboszade is the leader of the Talish
National Movement and Arif Kerimov is the chairman of the Lezgins’
National-Cultural Federal Autonomy. In the noted interview, Fatiyev
informed that he was also the chairman of the Azerbaijanis’ World
Congress, which, in his opinion, is a greater organization, therefore,
the works should be focused on this important direction, especially
that the relations with the AzerRos are completely severed.

However, another event took place in Moscow, which caused the
indignation of the Azerbaijani authorities. In mid-November, an
international conference was held in one of the large halls of the
President-Hotel in Moscow to discuss the Lezgin and Avar people’s
problems and the ways of their solution. The conference was paid a
great interest in the sense that those in Moscow started to discuss
the issues of national identity of the peoples subjected to ethnic
pressure in Azerbaijan. The event was attended by representatives of
the President’s Office and the Foreign Ministry. One can imagine the
reaction of official Baku: the Azerbaijani media presented Fahraddin
Aboszade as an ideologist of the Talish-Mughan Republic, who was
invited to Moscow for special initiatives. Baku started accusing
Moscow of destabilizing the situation in Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev,
surely, takes all this as an intention to overthrow his power.

In addition to all this, the Council of Europe gave its regular
assessment to Ilham Aliyev’s regime. The statement of the PACE
monitoring group co-rapporteurs indicated that the increase in fines
for unauthorized rallies and the strict ban against the protest
demonstrations in Baku represent a threat to the freedom of speech and
to holding rallies in the country. This was stated by co-rapporteurs
Pedro Agramunt de Moran and Joseph Greh. They visited Azerbaijan to
assess official Baku’s commitments assumed before the Council of
Europe. They were concerned about the recent changes introduced in the
Criminal and Administrative Codes. The co-rapportuers stressed that
`the changes will have an additional negative impact on the freedom of
speech and assembly’. The penalties against organizers of protest
demonstrations have become more severe: depending on the role a person
played in organizing the demonstrations, the size of the penalty will
be up to $38.265. The penalty envisaged for organizers have increased
6 times, compared to the previous size.

The co-rapporteurs stressed that the national survey held in the
country had indicated that 60% of the population supported the protest
demonstrations organized for protecting the citizens’ rights. They
emphasized that special attention should be paid to the issues of
political prisoners, as well as to the violence used against
organizers of protest demonstrations and against journalists. These
are signals directed to the Azerbaijani President. And it is quite
clear that while the international warning signals addressed to the
Azerbaijani authorities are ignored by Aliyev, they cannot be ignored
by the Azerbaijanis living outside Azerbaijan, in the countries with a
democratic system of values.

The way of getting out of the shame was found by head of the
presidential administration Ramiz Mehtiyev. To disperse the unpleasant
atmosphere, an international conference titled `Azerbaijan 2020 – a
look to the future’ was convened on December 3 in Baku. The main
emphasis in Mehtiyev’s speech was as follows: `By signing the European
Convention on Human Rights, Azerbaijan has become an integral member
of the European democratic family, raising the human factor, human
rights and fundamental freedoms to the degree of the state policy’s
basic standard’. Here we should recall the discussions held at the
PACE autumn session around Safarov’s extradition, during which a
lawmaker from the Netherlands said that the fact of the issue’s
discussion at the European Parliament was in itself a violation of
European values. The lawmaker gave his colleagues to understand the
absurdity of joining the Council of Europe by a country, which has
nothing common with the European values.

While Chairman of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso pointed
out in Yerevan the achievements of the Republic of Armenia towards the
European integration, while the Azerbaijanis living in the RF and the
USA voiced open statements on the inefficiency of the Azerbaijani
ruling regime, while the Lezgins and Avars raised their national
problems in Moscow, the mehtiyevs had nothing else to do than to
praise their own country’s «virtues» and «achievements», which are
admired only by them. It doesn’t matter that the European institutions
address their calls and statements to the Azerbaijani authorities for
respecting human rights and freedoms. However, since the essence of
these calls and statements are hard to reach the ruling elite, the
structures are sometimes forced to organize seminars on the noted
topics to make the explanations clearer and more substantial for the
Azerbaijani party.

The events taking place in Azerbaijan and outside it indicate that a
hot struggle is expected in the coming presidential elections, which
cannot be ignored by Ilham Aliyev. And the European co-rapporteurs can
still limit with placing their report at the official website of the
Council of Europe, thus, at least, excluding the possibility of
falsifying them and inventing fresh lies by the Azeri propagandists.