Letter to Permanent Representatives: Human rights violations in Azerbaijan ahead of its Chairmanship

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Permanent Representatives of all member states to the Council of Europe

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General Council of Europe

Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe

Nils Muiu017enieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe

06/05/2014 – Amnesty International’s report “Behind bars: Silencing dissent in Azerbaijan” records human rights violations in Azerbaijan and particularly an increased clampdown on freedom of expression, assembly, and association following the 9 October 2013 elections. The important role that Azerbaijan is about to assume comes with significant responsibilities to lead the Council of Europe’s work for the defence and promotion of human rights across the continent. It is a role which must, inevitably, expose its bearer to greater scrutiny of its human rights record. The organisation therefore urges the Committee of Ministers to give this matter its critical attention and urge the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all 19 prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijan, and fully respect and protect the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.