Wednesday, November 9

"Azerbaijan [not] working to strengthen civil society"

I am appalled. According to this article "Azerbaijan working to strengthen civil society" published in some local US paper, Azerbaijan "is a gradually evolving democracy with freedom of speech in which opposition parties are playing an increasingly outspoken and prominent role in civil society". Its a country where opposition newspapers "publish freely" and where "social and economic development was proceeding, along with religious tolerance [...]".

The article sums the results of a meeting organized by the Joint Working Group for the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards. They are based in Baku, Azerbaijan. This Joint Working Group, has all sorts of members- judges, economists, human rights experts and more. I am just curious which human rights expert in the right state of his/her mind could conclude that Azerbaijan is improving steadily its human rights record. Nor I can imagine an economist who could say there is fair distribution of economic revenues or that there is any other steadily developing economic sector other than oil and gas.

I would also very much like to ask Judge Jean- Paul Moerman, a member of Belgium's Constitutional Court who was at the meeting, where is he seeing the evolving commitment to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan? Release of Eynulla Fatullayev (whom he calls "opposition- leaning militant journalist") was a fight worth years. I wonder what Mr. Moerman have to say about other imprisoned journalists or activists or political party members. Perhaps in his mind this too is only a sign of a democratic state? 

How is it possible that someone living in Azerbaijan, seeing the bitter reality can actually say or write something like this?! If you are so certain of this transparent, democratic and honest reality then why not get this article published in a bigger newspaper? Why not Guardian or NYTimes or WashingtonTimes? 

Perhaps Mr. Shahin Camalov, the Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group and the rest of his colleagues are in a state of trans, pretending to pretend for the sake of pretending and not caring. Whatever it is that prompted this institution to write something like this shows how superficial, simple and unaware they are. They simply choose to say something for the sake of saying, hoping at best to get a pat on a shoulder. And you call yourselves a joint working group for the implementation of international human rights standards! All of what you have concluded in your so- called meeting, makes me want to question whether you even know what human rights are, let alone what  international human rights standards stand and call for... How shallow... how shallow gentlemen... 

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