World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Experts urge Azerbaijan to drop charges

UN Experts urge Azerbaijan to drop charges against human rights defenders

GENEVA (9 May 2014) – Two United Nations independent experts on Friday expressed serious concern over the charges brought against three human rights defenders in the aftermath of the 2013 presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

Mr. Anar Mammadli and Mr. Bashir Suleymanli, respectively Chairman and Executive Director of the Azerbaijani Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDSC), together with Mr. Elnur Mammadov, President of the Volunteers of International Cooperation Public Union (VIC), are being tried in Baku for conducting business activity by an organized group without registration and abusing official powers, among other charges. They face up to 12 years’ imprisonment. Mr. Mammadli has been in pre-trial detention since 16 December 2013.

“We are seriously concerned that the three human rights defenders are being prosecuted in retaliation for their legitimate work in documenting alleged widespread irregularities and human rights violations around the presidential elections of 9 October 2013. All charges brought against them should be dropped and Mr. Mammadli should be released immediately,” urged the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai.

Mr. Mammadli was one of the participants in the consultation convened by Mr. Kiai in June 2013 in Geneva in preparation of his report on the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association in the context of elections. EMDSC has faced many challenges in relation to its registration due to a law establishing excessively bureaucratic procedures.

“Civil society plays a key role in ensuring transparent and fair elections by monitoring the exercise of public freedoms in such critical times. Silencing these human rights defenders would not only have a devastating impact on the Azerbaijani civil society as a whole, it would also indelibly stain the 2013 presidential elections,” added the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya.

The experts recalled their statement of 4 October 2013 in which they urged the Azerbaijani Government to recognize and enable the role of defenders and civil society organizations in the run up to the presidential elections.*

“In times of elections, States should make greater efforts to facilitate and protect the exercise of the core right to freedom of association,” the experts reiterated. “This applies as well in post-election periods during which human rights defenders are similarly exposed to violations and abuses,” they added.

The prosecution of the three human rights defenders is all the more troubling as Azerbaijan was elected last month as a member of the United Nations Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). This Committee considers applications for consultative status submitted by NGOs, to enable them to access various UN human rights mechanisms. “Should the three men be convicted, it would run contrary to the very spirit of Azerbaijan’s recent election within this UN Committee,” the experts concluded.

Azerbaijan has extended a standing invitation to the independent experts of the Human Rights Council, and Mr. Kiai hopes to be able to visit the country soon.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Rubio’s Last Stand (And Sleater-Kinney)

Well, it certainly was entertaining to watch Rubio succeed in getting under Donald Trump’s skin the other day, in the last debate before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday multi-state sweepstakes... The real killer for Rubio was that the most recent poll from Florida which shows him losing his home state to Trump by a huge margin in the primary due on March 15. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news