Freedom House: No country reacts as aggressive as Azerbaijan to repo

Freedom House: No country reacts as aggressive as Azerbaijan to
reports of organization

17:03 01/02/2014 >> REGION

No country in the world reacts to the report of Freedom House in such
an aggressive manner as the Azerbaijani authorities do, Arch
Puddington, the Vice President of the American Human Rights
Organization Freedom House said in an interview with Azerbaijani News
Agency Turan in connection with the recent accusations of the official
Baku.

According to him it is not the first time that Azerbaijan reacts to
the reports in a wrong way. Instead of discussing the issues
highlighted by the Human Rights Organization, the authorities in
politically unfair and unconvincing way attack Freedom House by
organizing spam attacks on it.

To the question why the government of Azerbaijan reacts to Freedom
House Puddington answered that this is not the only organization that
gives a very critical assessment of the situation of democracy and
human rights in Azerbaijan, so perhaps the government of Azerbaijan
acts in the same manner with other organizations as well. “They are
obviously unhappy with our estimates and reports. I don’t know why but
they think that the availability of the reports in the press that
contradict the reality and an online campaign against us would affect
our analysis. Anyway it will not affect.”

Puddington states that if we look back at the historical period
between the years of 1995, 1998 and 2000, Freedom House gave
Azerbaijan much better estimates than the country receives today.

“Thus, we were not biased by Azerbaijan in 2000 when we ranked
Azerbaijan as partially free country as we had expectations that the
adherence to the standards of Human Rights could be improved in the
country,” the Human Rights Defender said noting that the situation
worsened in the last decade.

“I don’t know what it is. I know that Azerbaijan has energy resources
and this is the reason why it is addressed diplomatically,
specifically because it is an energy giant. In this regard our reports
have less impact on Azerbaijan than they could have on the countries
without energy resources. However, I also think that the leadership of
Azerbaijan certainly would like to see their country recognized if not
as a great power but at least a respected member of international
diplomatic and economic sphere. Perhaps our reports in regard to this
irritate them,” Puddington noted.

To the question about the inclusion of Nagorno Karabakh into the list
of “partially free” countries the Human Rights Defender said that
their organization gives individual assessment also to the areas which
are not recognized as sovereign countries such as the West Bank , Gaza
Strip , Palestine , Western Sahara , South Ossetia, Abkhazia
Transnistria , Tibet and others.

Puddington stated that the organization doesn’t single out Nagorno
Karabakh and doesn’t try to punish Azerbaijan.

“We don’t have pro-Armenian or pro-Azerbaijani bias. We assess the
Nagorno Karabakh because it is a disputed territory. This is a
territory the status of which is not decided yet and which is not
controlled either by Azerbaijan or by Armenia. Our analysts considered
that the situation in Nagorno Karabakh is such that it can be
evaluated as “partially free” and that is why we gave that estimate,”
Puddington said.

He also referred to the release of a call record by Azerbaijani Media
where the director of Azerbaijani News Agency Turan Mehman Aliyev
speaks with the alleged representative of the Freedom House some
Evgeni who called from Ukraine to tell that they are ready “to make
the changes” in Azerbaijan.

“Evgeni doesn’t work at Freedom House. We don’t know anyone by that
name. And of course there was no phone call to Azerbaijan from the
official saying that we are ready to aim at Azerbaijan. This is a
primitive fable devised by Azerbaijani authorities,” Puddington
declared.

Note that according to the Freedom House report “Freedom in the World
2014” Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic are ranked as
“partially free” countries, while Azerbaijan is noted by the
organization among the countries that recorded a significant decline
in freedom.

Source: Panorama.am

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