Rights to freedom of expression eroded even further

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) strongly condemns a series of repressive legislative amendments that Azerbaijan’s National Assembly (Milli Majlis) adopted on 14 May 2013.

“The amendments seek to ban criticism and increase the cost of dissent. They are designed to silence all those who continue to speak out despite the already and increasingly repressive climate,” the undersigned organisations said in a joint statement: Azerbaijan_IPGA statement_16-05-2013_Final.

The undersigned organisations call on the Azerbaijani authorities to:

• Respect and promote the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including online;
• Honour their commitment to decriminalise insult and defamation;
• Abolish administrative detention as a penalty for organising or holding an unauthorised assembly;
• Stop using bogus criminal or administrative penalties to punish the expression of dissent;
• Cease the practice of harassing media workers and bloggers;
• Immediately and unconditionally release Hilal Mammedov, Avaz Zeynalli, Zaur Gurbanli, and all other journalists, bloggers and activists currently detained or imprisoned in connection with exercising their right to free expression.

The report “No sweet songs for human rights defenders“, recently published by Civil Rights Defenders, shows that repression of civil society has reached new lows. Threats, torture, fabricated cases, and harassment of family members is common for those who dare to stand up for human rights. The abuse goes on without much criticism from the outside world.

Categories: Statements.
Tags: Freedom of assembly, Freedom of expression, Harassment, and Human Rights Defenders.
Regions: Azerbaijan.