BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Azerbaijan's Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the recent landmark visit by French President François Hollande have been used by NGOs to selectively target Baku as part of a "biased campaign", a prominent MP said today.
Elkhan Suleymanov said the letter writing campaign by the European Stability Initiative, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch over the issue of political prisoners has "dynamically strengthened" in recent months with the aim of unfairly pressuring Baku.
"The goal of anti-Azerbaijani forces is to bring the issue of "political prisoners" again into the agenda and to achieve the appointment of a new rapporteur as a means of pressuring Azerbaijan," he said, pointing out that only Azerbaijan has been subjected to a special rapporteur on political prisoners among the 47 member nations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
"The situation in the area of human rights and freedoms in several Council of Europe member states is not positive compared with Azerbaijan," he noted.
Suleymanov reminded critics of his nation that there are no universal legal criteria on the definition of "political prisoners" according to the Council of Europe and other international organisations and further, by focusing so much attention on Baku, they are ignoring the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azerbaijani territories, which are still occupied by Armenia.
Accusing the three NGO's of selective judgement he said: "I wonder why European Stability Initiative, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch, which considered themselves legal defenders (on human rights) preferred to keep silent on the Armenian presidency to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2013?"
Suleymanov, a campaigner for those affected by the Armenian occupation that has displaced one million of his countrymen, said the occupation of 20 percent of his homeland continues despite resolutions by the United Nations, the European Parliament, the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
But he added the latest campaign against Azerbaijan fits a pattern of behaviour that continually favours Armenia. "These organizations themselves serve Armenia and its defenders and fulfil orders serving their interests," he said.
Azerbaijan chairs the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from May 14 until mid-November.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor