Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg holds press conference on outcomes of his visit to Azerbaijan

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg holds press conference on outcomes of his visit to Azerbaijan
# 05 March 2010 12:35 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Victoria Dementieva – APA. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg held a press conference on the results of his visit to Azerbaijan. Hammarberg said he would submit the report on his visit in spring, APA reports. Freedom of expression, situation of non-governmental organizations, respect of human rights by law enforcement officers, and the administration of justice were the main themes of the Hammarberg’s visit to Azerbaijan from 1-5 March 2010. During the visit the Commissioner met Azerbaijani President, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Prosecutor General, and the Head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ombudsperson and representatives of civil society. The Commissioner also went to prisons where he talked with the two youth activists Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizadeh. He also expressed regret that the persons killed journalist Elmar Huseynov has not been detained yet. He said he would keep the issue of arrested journalist Eynulla Fatullayev and bloggers in the focus of attention. The Commissioner noted the ongoing discussions regarding the decriminalization of defamation. He also took note of the concerns expressed by various interlocutors regarding recent changes to legislative framework which could have a negative impact on journalists’ activities. Decriminalization of defamation is an essential step for the protection of freedom of expression, but it is not sufficient. There is also the need to ensure that there is no selective application of criminal law provisions against journalists or other persons due to the views or opinions expressed by them.

For the first time Commissioner Hammarberg visited Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. He met with the government officials and ombudsperson. He also visited Bananyar village of the republic. Hammarberg said he didn’t face with any problem in visiting Bananyar, but refused to value the situation there. He said he needed to collect more information that he could express opinion on Bananyar events.





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