Does PACE Change Its Policy Towards Azerbaijan?
The PACE autumn session was highlighted not only by the election of the new president, but also by adopting two resolutions on Azerbaijan. These two events seem to be the logical continuation of the recently activated process.
This refers to the scandal around Agramunt and the revelation of the “Azerbaijani Laundromat”, after which the criticism of the West towards Azerbaijan became sharper and tougher. Some western officials even came up with a call to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan.
It is noteworthy that the report on the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan, which with 117 votes became a resolution, not only mentions the deteriorating situation with human rights in Azerbaijan, but also calls for immediate implementation of the ECHR decisions, reviewing the cases of political prisoners and calls not to put pressure on activists, journalists and human rights defenders.
As for the resolution on the 2014 Azerbaijani Chairmanship (114 delegates voted in favor), it stresses that Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship in the CoE was accompanied with unprecedented human rights abuses in the country, detention of dozens of activists and human rights defenders, who cooperated with the CoE. The resolution calls to put an end to all that.
In the case of these two resolutions, it is important to mention that before becoming resolutions, a number of changes were made in the reports based on discussions and suggestions. As a result, criticisms towards Azerbaijan became tougher.
In Azerbaijan, which is a member of the Council of Europe, for decades in all possible ways and means human rights are violated, there is a restriction of freedom of expression, people are subjected to repression. This should have long ago worried this structure and made it take appropriate steps to prevent further escalation. However, it started to worry the Council of Europe during Azerbaijani Chairmanship. As it is said: “Better late than never”. Nevertheless, adopting these resolutions can hardly be considered to be fully satisfactpry, as they have only advisory nature. It’s time to turn to real and clear actions.