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Statement by a group of Azerbaijani MPs concerning the hearings held in the European Parliament on June 10

Azerbaijan is interested in comprehensive development of relations with the European Parliament on the basis of principal of equality

Baku. 11 June. REPORT.AZ/ We, a group of deputies from the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, consider the hearings held in the European Parliament on 10 June 2015 on the First European Games Baku-2015 as a follow-up of the biased and intentional campaign carried out against our country by the President of the EP Mr M. Schultz, Vice-President Mme U. Lunacek and some other political groups. We have already witnessed on several occasions the persistent and purposeful attempts of those groups to include into the agenda of the EP the so-called human rights violation issue in Azerbaijan under various pretexts. It is a regretful fact that this time a grandiose sports event which will open a new stage in the history of the European sports movement has been picked for undermining the image of Azerbaijan.

Throughout history, sport has been a factor bringing people representing various cultures and civilizations closer to one another. Using sports as a tool for achieving political purposes, and politicising any sports events is not acceptable. UN Resolution A/Res/69 of 31 October 2014 “Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace” also stresses the independence of sport institutions that are responsible for the organization of sport events and Olympic movements. It is crucial that governments, international political organizations and individual politicians respect this independence. Serious importance shall be attached to keeping sports separate from politics and not damaging it by various political views. Sport competitions should continue playing a role of a bridge among nations. It is a very concerning fact the European Games, an event serving noble ideals, has been chosen as a tool for a new biased attack against Azerbaijan.

In the modern age, majority of the world’s states have accepted the supremacy of human and citizen’s rights. Azerbaijan is amongst those states. Great amount measures have been undertaken in our country for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms and these works are still underway. One third of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been devoted to human rights and freedoms. A fully independent judiciary system has been established in the country. Since Azerbaijan has entered the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, each and every citizen of the country has a right of access to the European Court. Alongside this, Azerbaijan continues progressive human rights reforms within the framework of close cooperation with international organizations of which the country is a member. Azerbaijan has formed a democratic system based on respect to human rights and freedoms and there is a political will in the country towards strengthening this system.

As to the ideas raised in the European Parliament concerning the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan, and the arrest of human rights defenders and journalists, it is clear to any person who knows our country very well that these ideas are far from being the truth. The fact that the deputies, the majority of whom have not visited Azerbaijan and thus have very scarce information about it, reflect their considerations about a whole country on the basis of the single-sided information they receive from outside sources and try to teach the state which fully relies on the support of its people, fully contradicts the principles and ethics of parliamentary diplomacy.

There are no human rights defenders or journalists in Azerbaijan who have been arrested due to their professional activities. Similarly, there is no law existing in the country which provides immunity to the people involved in such activities against being held liable when they perpetrate criminal offences. The facts that have been used in the European Parliament as a means of pressure against Azerbaijan are related to concrete criminal offences.

We have to note with the feeling of deep regret that both the European Parliament and the individuals who they call human rights defenders have preferred preserving their silence during the last 20 years about the violated human dignity of more than 1 million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs who have been deprived of all rights and freedoms as a result of Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of Azerbaijan. This biased attitude, which is the reflection of double standards, is not acceptable.

In fact, Mr Schultz, Mme Lunacek and other members of the Parliament pursuing a biased attitude toward Azerbaijan, are led by the Armenian lobby that has sufficient influence in Europe. Sometimes it goes so far that in order to discredit Azerbaijan, Mme Lunacek and some other MEPs resort to such provocative and intriguing acts as appearing in the EP sittings wearing T-shirts with the pictures of criminals who perpetrated offences in our country.

Those who have visited our country in person and are aware of the situation here, including the members of parliament, confirm that Azerbaijan is a really open and free society. Indeed, we are not in the position to deny certain violations occurring in the country. Such cases happen in all countries of the world. What is important is that the political will existing in the country is directed towards the elimination of all violations and strengthening the rule of law.

Azerbaijan has passed an unprecedented development during the years of independence. The welfare of the people has increased and the country has been entirely modernised. Azerbaijan is developing and strengthening day-by-day. Some “politicians” who envy this development do not give up with their attempts to discredit Azerbaijan exaggerating even minor issues. Unfortunately, serving this purpose, they have also misused the desire of Azerbaijan to conduct the European Games according to the best standards.

Azerbaijan is interested in comprehensive development of its relations with the European Parliament on the basis of the principal of equality. Nevertheless, such biased campaigns against our country damage the development perspectives of the bilateral relations, and at the same time, undermine the image of the European Parliament. We believe that such campaigns will not impede the successful conduct of the First European Games which will become a significant event in the life of our country and all of Europe. We are convinced that the athletes and sports fans will enjoy these games; the first and the following European games will help the people of Europe to be closer to each other, to understand each other better and contribute to their adherence to common values.

Ziyafat ASGAROV

First Deputy Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Chairman of the Committee of the Milli Majlis on Security and Defence; Head of the Delegation of the Azerbaijani Parliament to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Bahar MURADOVA

Deputy Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Head of the Delegation of the Azerbaijani Parliament to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Valeh ALESKEROV

Deputy Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Chairman of the Committee of the Milli Majlis on Natural Resources, Energy and Environment; Head of the Delegation of the Azerbaijani Parliament to the EU-Azerbaijan PCC, Co-chair of the PCC

Siyavush NOVRUZOV

Chairman of the Disciplinary Commission of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan;member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly;DeputyExecutive Secretary of the New Azerbaijan Party.

Asim MOLLAZADE

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on International and Inter-parliamentary Relations; member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly; Co-chair of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Political Committee; Chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party

Fazil MUSTAFA

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Human Rights; member of the Delegation of the Azerbaijani Parliament to the PACE; chairman of the Great Order Party

Ilyas ISMAYILOV

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Human Rights; chairman of the Justice Party

Igbal AGAZADE

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Human Rights; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the TurkPA; chairman of the Azerbaijan Hope Party.

Sabir RUSTAMKHANLI

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on International and Inter-parliamentary Relations; chairman of the Citizens’ Solidarity Party

Sabir HAJIYEV

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Legal Policy and Institutional Building; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the PACE; Chairman of the Citizen Unity Party

Khanhuseyn KAZIMLI

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Economic Policy; chairman of the Azerbaijan Social Welfare Party

Gudrat HASANGULİYEV

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Legal Policy and Institutional Building; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the NATO PA; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest PA; chairman of the Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front party.

Fazail AGAMALI

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Legal Policy and Institutional Building; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the CIS Parliamentary Assembly; chairman of the Motherland Party.

Faraj GULİYEV

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Security and Defence; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly; chairman of the National Revival Movement Party.

Samad SEYIDOV

Chairman of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on International and Inter-parliamentary Relations; Head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the PACE

Sahiba GAFAROVA

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Culture; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the PACE; General Rapporteur on violence against women of the PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination and political coordinator of the PACE Network Women Free From Violence.

Fuad MURADOV

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis on Natural Resources, Energy and Environment; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly; Co-chair of the Energy Committee of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly; Deputy Head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the EU-Azerbaijan PCC.

Sevinj FATALIYEVA

Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on International and Inter-parliamentary Relations; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the PACE; General Rapporteur on children of the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development; coordinator of the Azerbaijani Parliament in the PACE on the issues of violence against children; Deputy Chairman of the PACE Sub-Committee on European Social Charter

Gulchohra MAMMADOVA

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Science and Education; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

Malahat İBRAHİMGIZI

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Social Policy; member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.

Jala ALIYEVA

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Culture; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization

Sevinj HUSEYNOVA

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Social Policy; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the TurkPa; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

Sadagat VALIYEVA

Member of the Committee of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Social Policy; member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the TurkPA.

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