| Den norske Helsingforskomité

Aserbajdsjan

Aserbajdsjan

Helsingforskomiteen har arbeidet med olje-og gassrike Aserbajdsjan siden 1999. Vi overvåker menneskerettighetssituasjonen i landet og observerer gjennomføringen av valg. Aserbajdsjan har hatt en svært negativ menneskerettighetsutvikling de siste ti år og har siden 2003 blitt ledet av president Ilham Aliyev, som overtok makten da hans far Heydar døde samme år. De senere år er ytringsfriheten systematisk krenket og flere journalister og redaktører har blitt fengslet. Landet har rundt 70 politiske fanger, det har aldri vært holdt valg som kan anerkjennes som demokratiske, og politisk opposisjon er helt marginalisert. Aserbajdsjan er fremdeles i konflikt med Armenia etter at Armenia okkuperte aserbajdsjansk territorium gjennom krigen over Nagorno-Karabach, og regionen regnes som ustabil. Flere hundre tusen internt fordrevne etter konflikten lever fremdeles i midlertidige bosettinger eller i bosettinger hvor de holder adskilt fra øvrig befolkning.

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NHC protests against arrest of independent election observer Anar Mammadli in Baku

Azerbaijan:

NHC protests against arrest of independent election observer Anar Mammadli in Baku

On 16 December 2013 Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, Baku (EMDS) and board member of the network European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) was arrested and given a three months pre-trial detention at the Nasimin District Court in Baku.

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Opposition daily throttled financially by lawsuits and dirty tricks

Azerbaijan:

Opposition daily throttled financially by lawsuits and dirty tricks

After a run-up marked by flagrant violations of political pluralism and freedom of information, President Ilham Aliyev’s reelection by an overwhelming majority on 10 October 2013, in a poll that the OSCE considered “seriously flawed”, has been followed by new crackdown on the media. The daily newspaper Azadliq, one of the few remaining opposition news outlets, is now in danger of succumbing to efforts to throttle it financially. NHC joins other human rights defenders in voicing concern at the situation.

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Pressure against election observers in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

Pressure against election observers in Azerbaijan

The European Platform for Democratic Elections protests against the intimidation of its member organization, the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) in Baku. We are worried that the investigations led by the Prosecutor general’s office, have political motives, a reaction to the critical statements made by EMDS after the recent Presidential elections in Azerbaijan. - As a member of the European Platform for Democratic Elections, we join the protests and we are very worried to see that another efficient election monitoring NGO is targeted by the authorities, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland. Last April, Russian partner Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as 'foreign agents'.

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Surprise EP and PACE statement on the presidential election in Azerbaijan

EPDE:

Surprise EP and PACE statement on the presidential election in Azerbaijan

In a surprising statement after last week's elections in Azerbaijan, delegations from the European Parliament and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly concluded that they had observed "free, fair and transparent electoral process". They did this despite the widespread and reliable reports of fraud, pressure against voters and other manipulations. - We find it quite astonishing that European parliamentary delegation members, who should defend the voters' right to democratic elections, instead choose to look away from the facts of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, secretary general Bjørn Engesland says. Together with the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) we have made a statement criticizing the delegations.

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Election will not be credible unless people are free to criticise the government

Azerbaijan:

Election will not be credible unless people are free to criticise the government

In a joint call issued today on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human right organisations and press freedom campaigners warn that the failure of the government of Azerbaijan to respect human rights, including freedom of expression, undermines the democratic legitimacy of the government. - Azerbaijan should take immediate action to ensure fundamental rights are protected ahead of the election, including by releasing journalists, political activists and human rights defenders, to ensure the election is free and fair, NHCs Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says.

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Continued harassment of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbaijan:

Continued harassment of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

In a letter to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyevin and the Prosecutor General Zakir, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, along with several Human Rights NGOs, express a profound concern regarding the continued harassment and intimidation of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and the resulting interference in her work. - We urge the President of Azerbaijan to take immediate steps to ensure a prompt, thorough, effective and transparent investigation into the threats made against the journalist Khadija Ismayilova, as well as ensuring the effectiveness of the current investigation into the violation of Ismayilovas right to privacy, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says.

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Coalition for Trust

South Caucasus:

Coalition for Trust

The “Coalition for Trust”, a three-year regional project funded by the European Commission and co-funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, started in late 2012 and works in all entities of the South Caucasus to restore confidence and build people-to-people contact by opening up new perspectives on conflict transformation. The initiative is implemented on the ground by local partner and associate organisations in the regions. NHC is working with the partners to develop and deliver a broad-ranging educational programme for close to 300 students, journalists and civic activists.

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UN Member States must hold Azerbaijan to account for deteriorating human rights situation

Azerbaijan at the UPR:

UN Member States must hold Azerbaijan to account for deteriorating human rights situation

In a statement published 29 April, NHC and the International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan urges the member states of the United Nations to hold Azerbaijan accountable during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 30 April 2013 for its failure to protect basic human rights. The International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan, in which NHC is a partner, urge the UN to take Azerbaijan to task for failing to implement the commitments it made after its first review in 2009. Read the full statement below.

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Civic Solidarity Platform condemns crackdown on freedom of expression and association

Azerbaijan:

Civic Solidarity Platform condemns crackdown on freedom of expression and association

In a statement today, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has joined two large civil society networks, the Civic Solidarity Platform and the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan together with local organizations condemning the latest campaign against freedom of expression and association in Azerbaijan. – We are extremely concerned about the situation, it just seems that there is no end to the steps the authorities are willing to take to retain power firmly in hand, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says today.

Since the start of the year, Azerbaijani authorities have broken up rallies arresting peaceful protesters and opposition leaders. Journalists, writers and bloggers have been harassed and 75 year-old acclaimed author Akram Aylisli has been subjected to severe threats even from the members of the national parliament. Proposals for restrictive legislation, running counter to international standards for freedom of association and expression, has been fielded. – Bearing in mind that presidential elections in Azerbaijan is just months away, the development is not acceptable and will undermine any hopes of democratic progress in the country, Engesland continues.

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Recommendations to the Government of Norway before the UN

NGO Forum for Human Rights:

Recommendations to the Government of Norway before the UN

Norwegian Helsinki Committee, of behalf of the Norwegian NGO Forum for Human Rights, has submitted the annual recommendations to the Government of Norway on human rights at United Nations. The recommendations are particularly directed towards Norway's efforts before the UN Human Rights Council, but are relevant also to other UN bodies.

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Civic Solidarity Platform condemns arrest of protesters

Azerbaijan:

Civic Solidarity Platform condemns arrest of protesters

In a statement the Civic Solidarity Platform and the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) condemn the harsh response by the Azerbaijani authorities to recent protests in the country. They call on the Council of Europe to ensure that Azerbaijan respects its human rights obligations as a member state and stop punishing critical voices, including human rights defenders and journalists. NHC is a member of bothe the Civil Solidarity Platform and IPGA and we support the statement.

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Adoption of Council of Europe resolutions is essential for human rights protection and democratic progress

Parliamentary Assembly votes on Azerbaijan:

Adoption of Council of Europe resolutions is essential for human rights protection and democratic progress

The International Partnership Group, coordinated by ARTICLE 19, along with Amnesty International, Norwegian Helsinki Committee and several Azerbaijani and international NGOs urges the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to make a strong call for Azerbaijan to improve its deteriorating human rights record. On Wednesday 23 January, the vote on two crucial resolutions on Azerbaijan will be an opportunity for the Assembly to show its genuine commitment to its human rights principles.

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Azerbaijan: NHC concerned over reported restrictions at the Internet Governance Forum

Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan: NHC concerned over reported restrictions at the Internet Governance Forum

- We are concerned with the reports that a conference aiming at discussing freedom of the internet allows restrictions on contributions from civil society – input that would contribute to a more open and relevant discussion, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. - One would think that the authorities had learned from the discussions that surrounded the Eurovision Song Contest that such restrictions and violations do not pass unnoticed, and do not reflect positively on the country’s image.

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Regional Program Coordinator  “Coalition For Trust” in South Caucasus (Updated)

Job vacancy announcement:

Regional Program Coordinator “Coalition For Trust” in South Caucasus (Updated)

We are currently seeking a highly qualified person to be the regional coordinator of the (EU-funded) program “Coalition for trust” in the South Caucasus. The aim of the program is to contribute to building knowledge and trust between people in a region marked by conflict and human rights violations. Activities include education and training, network building, advocacy and activism.

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International freedom of expression coalition launches website ahead of Eurovision

Azerbaijan:

International freedom of expression coalition launches website ahead of Eurovision

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (the IPGA), has launched its website www.AzerbaijanFreeXpression.org ahead of this week’s Eurovision Song Competition in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, present in Baku this week, is a member of the coalition.

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Informasjon til journalister: Baku, fra glitter til gitter

Informasjon til journalister: Baku, fra glitter til gitter

Invitasjon til journalister:

Fokus på Aserbajdsjan før Eurovision Song Contest i Baku - informasjonsmøte og informasjonspakke

Litteraturhuset i Oslo (Nedjma), fredag 4. mai kl 10.30 – 12.30.

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Azerbaijan must investigate brutal attacks on journalists

Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan must investigate brutal attacks on journalists

Together with several international human rights organisations, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly condemns the brutal attack on the Azerbaijani journalist Idrak Abbasov and four other journalists on 18 April 2012. In a letter adressed to President Ilham Aliyev the NHC demands that the Azerbaijani authorities launch an immediate, independent and transparent investigation into these brutal attacks. Read the letter in full below.

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Freedom of expression situation alarming ahead of Eurovision

Azerbaijan:

Freedom of expression situation alarming ahead of Eurovision

Today marks the launch of a new report by the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA), Running Scared: Azerbaijan’s Silenced Voices. The report highlights the climate of fear and pervasive self-censorship in Azerbaijan, with few brave journalists, bloggers and activists remaining. In the run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku in May, the IPGA calls on the international community to engage the Azerbaijani authorities on these issues now. The NHC is a member of the IGPA network, and you can download the report below.

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In Solidarity with Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbaijan:

In Solidarity with Khadija Ismayilova

Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) condemns the blackmail and continued harassment of one of the few independent investigative journalists working in Azerbaijan, Khadija Ismayilova. The most recent episode in the harassment campaign involves a one minute film of an intimate nature being posted on the internet on Wednesday March 14). A week earlier Ismayilova said she had received a letter including intimate photographs and a threat, stating "Whore, behave. Or you will be defamed”. Ismayilova has refused to give in to the blackmail attempts.

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Seven years on, still no justice for murdered editor Elmar Huseynov

Azerbaijan:

Seven years on, still no justice for murdered editor Elmar Huseynov

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of Monitor editor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov, who was fatally gunned down in his apartment building in a well-organised attack in 2005. Since Elmar Huseynov’s murder, there have been dozens of violent attacks against journalists in Azerbaijan, including the murder of prominent journalist and writer Rafig Tagi in November 2011. None of these attacks have been seriously investigated or prosecuted, resulting in a climate of impunity for those who wish to use violence to silence critical voices. Elmar Huseynov's widow has complained the apparent inactivity of the Azerbaijani Government to the European Court of Human Rights.

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PACE Must Demand Freedom for Political Prisoners

Azerbaijan:

PACE Must Demand Freedom for Political Prisoners

Member organisations of the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) are deeply concerned by the continued politically motivated imprisonment of persons in Azerbaijan for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The IPGA calls on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to take immediate action to ensure the release of these persons and to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its obligations as a Member State.

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Justice for Rafiq Tagi

Azerbaijan:

Justice for Rafiq Tagi

Prominent Azerbaijani journalist and writer, Rafiq Tagi, died in Baku on 23 November from the injuries he sustained during a brutal knife attack four days earlier. Rafiq’s death on 23 November – the world’s first International Day to End Impunity– is a chilling reminder of the dangers faced by journalists in Azerbaijan. As the Azerbaijan freedom of expression community mourns the loss of Rafiq, the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) calls for an end to the cycle of impunity in the country and for an independent, impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

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NHC inputs to the Preparatory meeting EU-Azerbaijan Human Rights Subcommittee

Azerbaijan - EU:

NHC inputs to the Preparatory meeting EU-Azerbaijan Human Rights Subcommittee

In connection with today’s meeting in preparation of the upcoming meeting of the EU-Azerbaijan Subcommittee on Justice, Liberty, Security and Human Rights and Democracy (Brussels, 24-25 November 2011) the Norwegian Helsinki Committee participates while presenting a paper outlining some the main challenges of human rights in Azerbaijan. We have in particular emphasized the deficiencies in the rule of law and the sharp increase in the number of political prisoners in the country. We also present a list of political prisoners and bring up the lawless situation in the Autonomous republic of Nakhchivan.

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Three more political prisoners in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

Three more political prisoners in Azerbaijan

On 2 October a Baku court convicted Arif Hajili, Chairman of the Musavat Party, Tural Abbasli, head of Musavats youth wing and Mahammad Majidli of the Popular Front Party to two and a half years in prison. They were convicted for “promoting social unrest” in connection with the 2 April pro-democracy protests. Their convictions adds to an already long list of political convictions in Azerbaijan in 2011, and comes just days after the Norwegian Helsinki Committee called for the release of Azerbaijani political prisoners at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting in Warsaw, Poland.

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NHC participating at HDIM in Warszaw

OSCE:

NHC participating at HDIM in Warszaw

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is actively and well represented at this years' OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. In our interventions at the meeting we will focus on freedom of religion in Central Asia, rule of law in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and freedom of expression in Macedonia, Bosnia and Serbia. We are organising a side-event on lack of justice after major human rights violations in Russia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Additionally we organise a side-event on strikers' rights in Kazakhstan and we are also co-organising a side-event with particular focus on Ales Bialiatski and the release of political prisoners in Belarus. Below you will find links to the HDIM webpage, all documents from our side-events and interventions and other relevant links.

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Human rights defender's office demolished in Baku

Azerbaijan:

Human rights defender's office demolished in Baku

The office of the NGO Institute for Peace and Democracy led by prominent human rights defender Leyla Yunus was demolished totally within an hour starting around 8:30 p.m. local time last night. The building was privately owned by Leyla Yunus and her husband, the historian Arif Yunus. Bulldozers arrived without warning and within little more than an hour nothing was left of the building that for years served as the premises for important human rights activity in Azerbaijan, including a crisis center for women and fight against the extensive violation of property rights.

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Need for a sharpening of human rights policies

Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia:

Need for a sharpening of human rights policies

Last week, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee hosted a delegation of Azeri, Belarusian, Russian and international human rights defenders. They took part in seminars arranged by the NHC at the Norwegian parliament Stortinget and the Fritt Ord Foundation. In their recomendations to the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the PACE and Stortinget, they called for a sharpening of human rights policies towards Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia.

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The underlying dilemma: Azerbaijan and Belarus in the spotlight

Seminar:

The underlying dilemma: Azerbaijan and Belarus in the spotlight

How can we combine the agenda of bilateral business relations with the active promotion and defense of human rights?

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Klare råd til politisk ledelse om Aserbajdsjan

Kronprinsens besøk til Baku:

Klare råd til politisk ledelse om Aserbajdsjan

Helsingforskomiteen har overlevert notat til statssekretær Espen Barth Eide med en rekke anbefalinger for hvilke spørsmål den norske delegasjonen må reise med Aserbajdsjan 6. - 8 juni samt konkrete forslag til program. Vi har navngitt flere politiske fanger som bør løslate. Vi har blant annet foreslått at delegasjonen besøker den nylig løslatte redaktøren Eynulla Fattulayev og oppsøker graven til den myrdede Elmar Huseynov. Notatet er også sendt til Olje-og energiminister Ola Borten Moe og til Kronprins Haakon. Barth Eide har lovet å strekke seg langt for å få løftet menneskerettigheter på agendaen under besøket i Baku.

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Eynulla Fattullayev amnestied

Azerbaijan:

Eynulla Fattullayev amnestied

Eynulla Fattulayev returned to his home last night after spending more than four years in prison in Azerbaijan for writing articles critical to the regime. The European Court of Human Rights demanded his release more than one year ago, instead, however, he was convicted of further charges. The NHC is pleased to congratulate Eynulla and welcome him back to freedom. The case shows that pressure against the authorities works. The pressure must continue.

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Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Calls for Eynulla Fatullayev’s Release

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Calls for Eynulla Fatullayev’s Release

(10/12-2010) Members of the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan call on the Azerbaijani government to immediately and unconditionally release Fatullayev from prison.

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Kronprins Haakon bør ikke reise til Aserbajdsjan nå

Aserbajdsjan:

Kronprins Haakon bør ikke reise til Aserbajdsjan nå

I et brev til H.K.H Kronprins Haakon ber Den norske Helsingforskomité om at H.K.H. Kronprinsen velger ikke å delta som planlagt ved åpningen av den årlige olje- og gassmessen International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference 6.-7.juni 2011 i Baku, Aserbajdsjan, da deltakelsen vil kunne gi signaler som kan misbrukes av ett av Europas siste og mest autoritære regimer. Raftostiftelsen og Human Rights House Foundation slutter seg til anmodningen til Kronprinsen.

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Two years prison for Azerbaijani Facebook-activist

Azerbaijan:

Two years prison for Azerbaijani Facebook-activist

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev is a 29-year old Harvard-graduate who organized the Facebook-event "Great Peoples Day" on March 11, calling people to join the Facebook-group and to protest the government. Officially, he was convicted for evading military service. However, with this sentence, the Azerbaijani Government has added another political prisoner to its already long list of convicted activists and journalists.

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NHC marks World Press Freedom Day on 3 May

NHC marks World Press Freedom Day on 3 May

An extensive five-day training seminar for Belarusian journalists opens in Vilnius today. We also issue an appeal to the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to put forward an initiative for the release of imprisoned Azerbaijani editor Eynulla Fattullayev.

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Azerbaijan: Facebook Activist Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Jail

Azerbaijan: Facebook Activist Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Jail

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) condemns the 4 May 2011 conviction of youth activist Jabbar Savalan, who was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment on politically motivated charges of drug possession. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is among the NGOs behind the statement comdemning the latest conviction of a youth activist in Azerbaijan.

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Democratic setbacks in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia must be met by resolute international demands

Statement from the NHC annual meeting 2011:

Democratic setbacks in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia must be met by resolute international demands

At these exceptional times – when authoritarian regimes are falling or are under serious pressure by democratic forces in the Middle East and North Africa – we witness that Europe’s last authoritarian states are successful in retaining control and undermining democratic developments.

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Dozens of opposition protesters arrested in Baku

Azerbaijan:

Dozens of opposition protesters arrested in Baku

Around 1000 protesters defied warnings and participated in the unsanctioned 2 April anti-government rally on the Fountain Square in Central Baku, Azerbaijan. Riot police of the oil rich country were quick to disperse the rally with their usual batons and arrested several dozens, including at least ten journalists.

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Release Eynullah Fattullayev

Azerbaijan:

Release Eynullah Fattullayev

Azerbaijan has blatantly flouted its international commitments by keeping Fatullayev behind bars. This not only undermines the Council of Europe’s credibility but erodes press freedom for all Council members. Sanctions are appropriate if Azerbaijan continues to mock the rule of law and hold Fatullayev

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New arrests of youth protesters

Azerbaijan:

New arrests of youth protesters

Norwegian Helsinki Committee, as one of the member organisations of the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan, condemns the recent wave of arrests of youth activists and bloggers in connection with planned pro-democracy protests in the country, and call for their immediate release.

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Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Calls for Eynulla Fatullayev’s Release

(10/12-2010) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is among the members of the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan who is deeply concerned by the Azerbaijani government’s failure to comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment in the case of imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev. These international organisations welcome the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers’ recent decision in Fatullayev’s case and call on the Azerbaijani government to mark International Human Rights Day by immediately and unconditionally releasing Fatullayev from prison.

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Continued violations of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan::

Editor Eynullah Fattullayev remains imprisoned

(17/11-2010) Last week, the Azerbaijani Supreme Court decided that imprisoned opposition editor Eynullah Fattullayev would not be released from prison, despite repeated calls from the Council of Europe and other international organisations. In April this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the sentence issued in 2007 of 8 ½ years imprisonment for, amongst other, terrorism and defamation, had violated his right to freedom of expression and a fair trial. The Azerbaijani government brought the decision to the Court’s Grand Chamber, from which it was dismissed.

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A call for the release of editor Eynullah Fatullayev

(22/10-2010) -We call upon your government to fully comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment, including by immediately and unconditionally releasing Mr Fatullayev. We further urge your government to do its utmost to ensure Mr Fatullayev’s health and safety in detention, in accordance with Azerbaijan’s international legal obligations. Eleven international NGOs, including Norwegian Helsinki Committee, today urges the President of Azerbaijan to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. On 4 October the Azerbaijani Government's request for a referral to the Grand Chamber was rejected by the Court, and the imprisoned editor is now on a hunger strike. In July, Fatullayev was convicted on new and highly improbable charges, this time for drug possession while in prison.

President Ilham Aliyev
The Presidential Palace
Istiqlaliyyat Street 19
Baku 1066
Azerbaijan

Via facsimile: +994 12 492 3543 and +994 12 492 0625
Via e-mail: office@pa.gov.az

 

Dear President Aliyev,

ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, Human Rights House Foundation, Index on Censorship, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, International Federation of Journalists, Media Diversity Institute, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and Reporters Without Borders are writing to express our strong concern regarding the continued imprisonment of Editor-in-chief Eynulla Fatullayev, which constitutes a breach of Azerbaijan’s international legal obligations and a violation of Mr Fatullayev’s rights.

As a member state of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, Azerbaijan is obligated to comply with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. As you are aware, on 22 April this year, the European Court ruled that Mr Fatullayev’s imprisonment constituted a violation of his freedom of expression and right to a fair trial and ordered the Azerbaijani Government to immediately release him and to pay him €27,822 for damages and legal expenses. Since the request of the Azerbaijani Government to have the case referred to the Grand Chamber was rejected on 4 October, the European Court’s decision in the case has become effective.

We are deeply disturbed by the latest charge against Mr Fatullayev of drug possession, for which he currently remains in prison. As Miklos Haraszti publicly stated as OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media in December 2009, this charge is “highly improbable”, and “aimed at pre-empting the European Court of Human Rights’ [then] expected verdict”.

We call upon your government to fully comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment, including by immediately and unconditionally releasing Mr Fatullayev. We further urge your government to do its utmost to ensure Mr Fatullayev’s health and safety in detention, in accordance with Azerbaijan’s international legal obligations.

 

Sincerely yours,

Agnès Callamard, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19
Joel Simon, Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy, Freedom House
Ane Tusvik Bonde, Regional Manager for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Human Rights House Foundation
Rohan Jayasekera, Associate Editor and Deputy Chief Executive, Index on Censorship
Tony Borden, Executive Director, Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Aidan White, General Secretary, International Federation of Journalists
Milica Pesic, Executive Director, Media Diversity Institute
Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General, Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Jean-François Julliard, Secretary General, Reporters Without Borders
Virginie Jouan, Executive Director, Press Freedom and Media Development, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

 

CC: Minister of Justice Fikrat Mammadov
Inshaatchilar Avenue 1
Baku, Azerbaijan
Via facsimile: +994 12 430 0981
Via e-mail: contact@justice.gov.az

 

NHC participates in the Warsaw Human Dimension Review Conference

(01/10-2010) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee will be very active during the Warsaw Human Dimension Session of the 2010 OSCE Review conference the first week of October. This is the first part of a three-part review conference ahead of the OSCE Summit to be held in Astana on 1-2 December 2010, in which NHC also will take part. Project-coordinator Lene Wetteland and recently appointed program manager of our Almaty office Parvina Abduvakhobova will be at the conference and will present several NHC interventions.

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Human Rights Organisations Welcome PACE Resolution on Azerbaijan

(29/06-2010) On 24 June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted Resolution 1750 on the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan. ARTICLE 19, the Human Rights House Foundation, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee welcome the adoption of the resolution. We call upon the Azerbaijani government to implement the recommendations contained in the resolution, and urge PACE to sustain its efforts to monitor the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.

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Grave attack against freedom of expression

(11/05-2010) Together with the Human Rights House Foundation, Norwegian PEN, English PEN, Norwegian Union of Journalists, Rafto Foundation, Index of Censorship and ARTICLE 19, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemn the illegal confiscation of material and documentary footage from the Norwegian filmmaker Erling Borgen and the cameraman Dag Inge Dahl in Baku Airport on May 6, 2010. We call upon Azerbaijani authorities to honour Azerbaijan’s international human rights obligations and restore the seized property to the owners.

A common statement on human rights in Azerbaijan

(22/06-2010) In connection with the June 2010 session of the Council of Europa Parliamentary assembly (PACE) the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights House Foundation have initiated an update of our joint statement on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. The statement was delivered to all PACE delegations as well as key rapporteurs and experts during the session.

Request for immediate and unconditional release of Eynulla Emin Fatullayev

(26/04-2010) In a letter to the government of Azerbaijan, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, together with members of the Human Rights House Network call upon the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately execute the decision of the European Court of Human Rights from 22 April 2010 in the case ‘Fatullayev v. Azerbaijan’ (application no 40984/07), to release the journalist from detention and compensate him for the damages he has suffered.

NHC to PACE to raise urgent concerns over the situation in Azerbaijan

(27/01-2010) This week the Norwegian Helsinki Committee presents its report Azerbaijan's Dark Island: Human Rights violations in Nakchivan at the winter session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). NHC’s Berit Lindeman and Vugar Gojaev accompanies the 2009 Rafto award winner Malahat Nasibova from Nakhchivan and her husband. Ane Bonde of the Human Rights House Foundation is also part of the delegation. The purpose of the visit to PACE is to raise the grave human rights situation in Nakhchivan as well as the media situation in general in Azerbaijan. - The Council of Europe has the potential of playing an important role for the improvement of human rights in Azerbaijan. In January nine years ago, Azerbaijan became a full member of this European human rights body, on condition of improving several areas of its democracy and human rights conduct. Azerbaijan has largely failed to fulfill its commitment, and we believe that the Council of Europe may intensify its efforts to push the Azerbaijani Government into taking real steps to secure the rule of law for Azerbaijani citizens and to allow or a free press, Lindeman says. – We will hold meetings with the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, the PACE rapporteur on Azerbaijani affairs Andres Herkel, the Norwegian delegation to the Parliamentary assembly and a number of others in Strasbourg.

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Nakhchivan's activists attacked

(16/12-2009) Two employees of the Nakhchivan-based “Democracy and NGO Development Resource Center” were attacked and seriously beaten by an orchestrated group of athletic mobsters on 15 December. Both NGO activists, Ilgar Nasibov and Vafadar Eyvazov were trying to arrange a seminar in the University as part of the project funded by the Norwegian Embassy to combat widespread corruption at Nakhchivan State University. At that time, a group of some fifty sportsmen studying at Sport faculty of the University urged the activists to leave the University campus. When refused, the sportsmen dragged out the activists and fell them down and beat them heavily.
Malahat Nasibova, 2009 Rafto award-winning journalist of «Azadliq» radio (Azerbaijani service of RFERL), who also heads the “Democracy and NGO development Resource Center”, said her husband Ilgar Nasibov and employee Vafadar Eyvazov suffer from rib fractures caused by heavy injuries on abdominal cavity and spine.

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Azerbaijan:

The CoE Committee for the Prevention of Torture publishes a report on Azerbaijan for the first time since 2002

(26/11-2009) Today, the CoE Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) publishes the report of its ad hoc visit to Azerbaijan in December 2008. Even though visits were conducted also in 2004, 2005 and 2006 the Government of Azerbaijan has not agreed to publish any of the reports since 2002. The delegation visited several places of detention as well as hospitals and psychiatric institutions and received several credible allegations from prisoners of deliberate physical ill-treatment and excessive use of force by prison officers. The delegation also revealed insufficient health care systems, overcrowding and excessive use on confinement of prisoners to the cell. Although some improvements to the physical conditions of places of detention was observed, the conditions in non-refurbished ward remains poor.

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Concern over new law for NGOs

(09/11-2009) The Human Rights House Foundation, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the Rafto Foundation, the South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders and the Belarusian Human Rights House in exile in Vilnius are concerned about the noticeable tendency in Azerbaijan to put local non-governmental organisations under increased government control following the recent amendments to the NGO law. The amended law allows the government to collect information on NGOs without referring to any specific purpose articulated in this or other laws. This concern was expressed in a letter the above mentioned organisations sent to the Minister of Justice Fikrat Mammadov on friday 6 November.

Rafto Prize 2009 awarded to Malahat Nasibova

(05/11-2009) The 2009 Rafto Prize for Human Rights was awarded to journalist and human rights defender Malahat Nasibova from Azerbaijan on 1 November.

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Referendum in an atmosphere of intimidation and fear

(19/03-2009) The Referendum over Constitutional amendments in the Republic of Azerbaijan took place in an atmosphere of intimidation of voters and of all those who opposed the reform of the Constitution. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has listened to numerous witnesses recounting how they have been subjected to pressure to coerce them to go the vote during yesterdays’ poll. The hastily called referendum was never subjected to a meaningful public debate, which would have allowed for raising any relevant concerns related to the Constitutional reforms. The speedy procedure also puts into question the legality of the called referendum.

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The 2009 Rafto Prize Laureate:

Malahat Nasibova from Azerbaijan

(24/09-2009) The Rafto Prize for 2009 goes to journalist and human rights activist Malahat Nasibova. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee would like to congratulate Malahat Nasibova with this years Rafto Price. The prize will hopefully lead to a greater focus on the grave situation for independent press and human rights in Azerbaijan.

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Press Prizes for Russia and Eastern Europe Announced

Three of the prize winners for this years press prizes ”Free Press of Russia” and ”Free Press of Eastern Europe”, was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. The winners were announced by The Freedom of Expression Foundation of Oslo and the ZEIT Foundation of Hamburg this monday. The Russian journalist Zoya Svetova, the azerbaijani journalist Natiq Gavadli and the Azerbaijani newspaper Azaliq will receive their prizes together with the other winners at the Norwegian Nobel Institute on 3 june.

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Withdraw the claim against the human rights defender Leila Yunus immediately

(21/01-2009) Authorities of the republic of Azerbaijan should immediately withdraw a libel case against the internationally renowned human rights defender Leila Yunus, the Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy.

She has for a long time extensively criticised human right violations in Azerbaijan. The complaint against her is based on an interview where she pointed out that several officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been convicted for kidnapping a few years ago. The statements where published on the web-page Day.az on December 3, 2008. - The rights of Leila Yunus to make the statements that made the Ministry of Interior bring the libel case against her, is protected by freedom of expression provisions that are binding on Azerbaijan. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both protects expressions critical of governments and Ministry officials, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. "Little respect for freedom of expression and strong media control in Azerbaijan is causing great concern and has attracted considerable international criticism during recent years. The libel case brought against Leyla Yunus contributes to aggravating an already serious situation."

No environment for free and fair elections

(16/10-2008) - Yesterdays' presidential election in the Republic of Azerbaijan took place in an environment where free and fair elections are not possible, says head of information in The Norwegian Helsinki Committee Berit Lindeman, who is currently in Baku monitoring the election. Some of the basic conditions for holding elections are public debate, a free press and equal conditions for all political forces in the country. Neither is present in Azerbaijan, says Lindeman.

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Norge må stille hardere krav til Aserbajdsjan

(08/03-2008) Ordene tilhører Rauf Mirgadirov, som nylig fikk Fritt Ord prisen for 2008. I går besøkte han Helsingforskomiteen. Mirgadirov er politisk kommentator i den russiskspråklige dagsavisen Zerkalo og dens aserbajdsjanskspråklige utgave Ayna, og er en av de viktigste politiske kommentatorene i Aserbajdsjan. Mirgadirov har klare meninger om hvordan Norge bør forholde seg til Aserbajdsjan: - Norge og vesten må stille langt hardere krav i dialogen med aserbajdsjanske myndigheter. Den diplomatiske enigheten som preger den dialogen, må forlates. Utviklingen går ikke i riktig retning, og Norge og vesten bør i langt større grad true, og sette i verk, sterke sanksjoner mot myndighetene, uttalte Mirgadirov.

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Fritt Ords prisvinnere hos Helsingforskomiteen

(05/03-2008) Helsingforskomiteen var med på å nominere fire av Fritt Ord og ZEIT-stiftungs presseprisvinnere for 2008. To av dem er på besøk i Oslo til torsdag.

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Grove angrep på mediefriheten i Aserbajdsjan

Helsingforskomiteen fordømmer angrepene mot mediefriheten i Aserbajdsjan de siste dagene - og oppfordrer norske myndigheter til å gjøre det samme.

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Free Press Prize Nominations to Sakit Zahidov and TURAN Information Agency

(30/10-2006) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights House Foundation have nominated satirical journalist Sakit Zahidov (from Azadlik) and TURAN Information Agency from Azerbaijan as candidates for the Promotional Reward of The Freedom of Expression Foundation Young Press of Russia.

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Minimal folkelig interesse for lokalvalg i Aserbajdsjan

(06/10-2006) I dag skal innbyggerne i 600 aserbajdsjanske kommuner velge sine ledere. Men folket har ikke lenger tillit til sine demokratiske institusjoner.

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