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European Parliament: No further relations with Azerbaijan and sanctions unless European human rights standards are met - EuFoA

European Parliament: No further relations with Azerbaijan and sanctions unless European human rights standards are met

On Thursday, 18 September, the European Parliament adopted a motion on the persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.
Many points of the motion are directly relevant to Armenia, as well as to the imprisonment of Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus earlier this year in July and partly because of dubious charges of spying for Armenia, causing international outcry.

The European Parliament is ready to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan and curb the current relations if demands aren’t met.

 

Director of European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA, www.EuFoA.org) Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa says “When an administration systematically targets parties that are part of the EU political family, as well civil society representatives that participate in EU-sponsored confidence building programs with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and accusing them of spying for Armenia, there is already enough grounds to activate the sanctions that the text proposes.”

 

In the adopted statement, European Parliament condemns Azerbaijan’s efforts to restrain contacts between the civil society, youth group activists and intellectuals from Armenian and Azerbaijan. Fostering these contacts is important when it comes to solving the long-term hostilities regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and, according to the EP motion, activists such as Leyla Yunus have done relevant and necessary work within Azerbaijan.

 

The European Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Azerbaijan next year and in their wake, the Parliament urges the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to demand press freedom within the country, as well as to stop media suppression.

 

The European Parliament has made a clear point in stating that no partnership agreement with Azerbaijan will be ratified unless the country acts upon the stated requirements.
Furthermore, the Parliament calls on the European Council to consider the possibility of targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations, if no changes are seen, an idea that was first introduced on 24 May 2012.

“Today after this resolution it becomes even clearer that the main problem for the people in South Caucasus is the Azerbaijani regime. This is true for both the Azerbaijani population who suffers the most, but also for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,” explains Mr Lorenzo Ochoa.

 

The full text of the motion can be found on the Parliament’s website here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=P8-RC-2014-0090&language=EN

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