Posts Tagged ‘HRHF’

Azerbaijan: constitutional referendum on 26 September will surely pass but not the human rights muster

September 24, 2016

Michel Forst (right), the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, addressing reporters in Baku on September 22.
Michel Forst (right), the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (right), addressing reporters in Baku on 22 September 2016.
Michel Forst, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said on 22 September 2016 that Azerbaijani authorities have applied crippling pressure to journalists and rights activists critical of the government, and made it virtually impossible for nongovernmental organizations to operate. “Civil society has been paralyzed as a result of such intense pressure,” Forst said as he wrapped up a nine-day visit to the South Caucasus nation to assess the situation. Observing that most of the recommendations by the international and regional human rights mechanisms have yet to be implemented by the Government of Azerbaijan, Mr Forst strongly called for establishing a mechanism that would result in a plan of action to implement those outstanding recommendations. He urged the Government to “to build bridges with civil society organizations, and to establish a regular and meaningful dialogue with human rights defenders, ensuring broad and inclusive participation. I believe such dialogue and partnership is ultimately in the interest of the Azerbaijani State”. [for the full end of mission statement see: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20544&LangID=E
Human rights defenders have been accused by public officials to be a fifth column of the Western governments, or foreign agents, which has led to misperception in the population of the truly valuable role played by civil society,” Forst added.
He was served immediately by Azerbaijani MP and editor-in-chief of the New Azerbaijan newspaper, Hikmat Babaoghlu, who told APA that “the Western imperialism has launched an attack on Azerbaijan with its entire network, which includes radical opposition groups, numerous local and international “civil society instructions” and “human rights defenders”. All these are taking place before the eyes of the Azerbaijani people, who are well aware of what is happening. Therefore, the destructive plan of imperialist centers will never succeed in Azerbaijan”  The main goal of the upcoming referendum is to better ensure the national security and the transition of development to a qualitatively new stage, he added. (Even more scathing is a piece written by Elmira Tariverdiyeva, the head of Trend Agency’s Russian news service – see link below.)
Forst’s report indeed comes just days ahead of a referendum (26 September) on changes to Azerbaijan’s constitution that critics say will tighten Aliyev’s grip on power, which he has held since 2003. The proposed amendments to the Constitution would further strengthen the already powerful president, including a longer presidential term, the authority to declare early presidential elections at will and dissolve parliament. The amendments will also lead to violations of the right to freedom of association. While in practice, public assemblies have already been prohibited in central Baku, the proposed amendments will grant the government even more power to interfere with the freedom of assembly in violation of international standards. The Council of Europe experts said on September 20 that the proposed changes would severely upset the balance of power and give “unprecedented” control to the president. (The head of the legal department in Aliyev’s administration called that assessment “hasty” and “politically driven.”)

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Human Rights House Foundation seeks Regional Officer South Caucasus

May 12, 2014

The Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) in Oslo seeks a Regional Officer for South Caucasus at the Human Rights House Foundation. Deadline Tuesday, 20 May 2014. Location: South Caucasus (majority of work in Armenia during the first 6 months). The position requires frequent travels within South Caucasus region. The position demands, inter alia, excellent English and good Russian and working experience (minimum 2 years) in the human rights field, preferably from a non-governmental or international organization.HRHFlogo

Send your  CV, list of references and letter of support in English to ane.bonde[at]humanrightshouse.org and katerina.spacova[at]humanrightshouse.org.

 

Azerbaijan harasses human rights defenders, even the recipient of the Homo Homini Award

March 7, 2013

( Ane Tusvik Bonde of HRHF  and Intigam Aliyev with the Homo Homini Award received on 4 March 2013)

In its intervention on 5 March 2013 at the Human Rights Council, the Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) welcomed the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, including the one to the General Assembly on legislation affecting human rights defenders. HRHF stated that they are concerned, as is the Special Rapporteur, by the fact that more and more countries misuse or design legislation in order to impede or even criminalise the work of human rights defenders, or to label them as “foreign agents” such as in the Russian Federation.

HRHF especially welcomed the communications re Azerbaijan, as published in the addendum to the Rapporteur’s report, including the communication about the closure of the Azerbaijan Human Rights House on 16 March 2011 and  the warnings against two NGOs threatened to be closed for their online publications on 5 March 2012. This communication has still not been answered. HRHF also regretted that Azerbaijan has not to date replied to the communication of the Special Rapporteur in relation to the arrest of photographer and blogger Mehman Huseynov, a case it already brought to the attention of the Council in July 2012.

Azerbaijan continues to use detention of human rights defenders as a tool to silence them. Most recently, on Saturday 26 January 2013, Intigam Aliyev was amongst 47 other demonstrators arrested for peacefully protesting in Baku. He was awarded the Homo Homini Award in Prague on 4 March, for his exceptional and courageous work in favour of human rights. Intigam Aliyev’s remains disbarred and his NGO blocked. In relation to this protest of 26 January,  Emin Milli was sentenced to administrative detention for 15 days for promoting the protest on Facebook in violation of article 298.1 and 298.2 of the code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Emin Milli was previously detained for 16 months along with Adnan Hajizade for publishing a critical video on Youtube. http://humanrightshouse.org/Articles/19109.html

Human Rights House and its partners speak out on Human Rights Defenders in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia

November 3, 2011

This is just a quick reference to the excellent work of the Oslo-based Human Rights House Foundation and its network over the last 2 months. They continue to call on the OSCE and the Council of Europe to monitor the situation of HRDs and to react against increasing repression against them. The focus is on Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, countries which often stay out of the limelight when it comes to human rights protection.

see; Joint call for better protection of HR defenders in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia – Human Rights House Network.