Baku. Turbat Baghirova – APA. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention today expressed concern about the institutionalization of persons with disabilities, especially persons with psycho-social and intellectual impairments, and the criminal justice system in Azerbaijan.
“The practice of detention of persons with disabilities is very common and constitutes indeed an exclusion from the society, with little chance for those individuals to be reintegrated, a situation which violates international human rights standards and, as it currently appears, leads to a life sentence,” said a Group’s delegation at the end of their first official visit to Azerbaijan to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty in the country.
During the ten-day visit, from 16 to 25 May, human rights experts Sètondji Roland Adjovi and José Guevara –Chair and Vice Chair of the Working Group respectively– visited some 22 detention and institutionalization places and interviewed more than 80 inmates and patients, in addition to meeting with the authorities, civil society and other stakeholders in Baku, Ganja and Nakhchivan City.
The Group’s delegation was alarmed by the treatment of children in conflict with the law. “While their detention should be a measure of last resort, many juveniles are quasi automatically detained even for minor crimes,” they noted. “In addition, the dire conditions they are subjected to in various detention facilities may have deep negative impact on their rehabilitation and re-education journey.”
“The Working Group is conscious that the initiative of inviting it for this country visit is the starting point of the reforms that the Government is envisaging. We are honored and committed to accompany the Government and the peoples of Azerbaijan in such a laudable journey and will continue the dialogue initiated during the mission,” they concluded.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will present its final report on its visit to Azerbaijan to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.