Report by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on Azerbaijan made public

Report by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on Azerbaijan made public
# 06 August 2013 15:15 (UTC +04:00)

Muižnieks is concerned over the treatment with journalists, who express critical opinions. The comments of the Azerbaijani side noted that all necessary conditions were created in the country so that media can freely operate activity and the journalists referred to in the report have in no case been prosecuted for their professional activity.

The Commissioner urges the authorities to bring the long-standing work on the reform of defamation legislation to a successful conclusion. While welcoming the fact that the Internet in Azerbaijan is for the most part free from restrictions, Nils Muižnieks is also concerned over the arrest of internet activists.

Touching upon the freedom of assemble, Muižnieks calls on the authorities to adopt effective measures to prevent the use of force against peaceful protestors by law enforcement officials. The Commissioner remains concerned by the way the Law on Freedom of Assembly is currently being implemented in Azerbaijan. The comments of the Azerbaijani side note that the right to freedom of assembly is guaranteed by the Constitution and regulated by the 5th article of the law “On freedom of assembly”. According to the law, places for mass meetings and demonstrations are alloted in every city and region. These places have been published by media and are available for people.

The Commissioner stressed that a number of NGOs, especially those operating in the field of human rights and those openly critical of the government, are reported to encounter several obstacles in carrying out their work in Azerbaijan. National NGOs have also faced difficulties, especially with regard to the restrictive application of the regulations on registration, which can result in long delays or the absence of any formal decision on registration. The authorities are called on to ensure full respect of the right to freedom of association, in particular by alleviating the registration requirements and making the whole process, as well as the functioning of NGOs, less bureaucratic. According to the Azerbaijani side, legislative acts regulating state registration and activities of NGOs, as well as their relationship with state authorities were developed in cooperation with international experts and passed the legal expertise of the Council of Europe.

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