Ali Hasanov: Azerbaijan traveled a long distance to develop democratic society and no one can deny it

The attempts to blame young democracies instead of seriously studying the causes of the present situation in Europe are a superficial approach, which exacerbates the situation even more

Interview of Head of Political and Public Affairs Department at the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov

- An article by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland published in the Guardian criticized the state of human rights and judiciary in Azerbaijan and underlined that the last pardon decree of the Azerbaijani President, the establishment of a working group on the issue of prisoners and other steps pave the way for solving these problems. We would like to know your opinion on the position of Jagland.

- Azerbaijan traveled a long distance to develop democratic society and no one can deny it. Azerbaijan does not fall behind any member states of the Council of Europe in terms of building a democratic society, ensuring human rights and freedoms, as well as implementing democratic reforms in judiciary. Azerbaijani legislation that meet the international standards fully ensures sustainable development of civil society, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and effective protection of human rights. As you know, Azerbaijan has a three-tiered judicial system and is observing the jurisdiction of the European Court on Human Rights as a member country of the Council of Europe. Currently, it is the most perfect mechanism to ensure the protection of human rights.

Azerbaijan is exemplary for its activity, initiative and principled position in all international organizations it joined including the Council of Europe. It fulfills all its duties and responsibilities.

We regard the Council of Europe as a platform, which is used to develop our foreign relations, strengthen our current capacity through the effective cooperation with the member states, contribute to the strengthening of the formed system of international relations, take an active part in the European processes, defend our national interests and bring the truths to the world community. And respectively, we expect from the EU leadership and the member states an adequate attitude toward Azerbaijan. It is disappointing to note that in most cases, several leading international organizations, including the Council of Europe act as means of pressure of some forces on the member states. Artificial exaggeration of the so-called issue of “political prisoners”, attempts to dishonor Azerbaijan with unfounded and biased statements not only undermine the cooperation within the framework of the Council of Europe, but distract it from performing its mission and shatter the confidence in the organization. I think that some of the statements in the article by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland are the results of certain anti-Azerbaijani forces’ influence and nothing but ungrounded subjective judgments.

Neither Azerbaijani laws nor international law grant special privilege to representatives of some professions who committed a particular crime. Just as in any democratic country, Azerbaijani courts too rely on the rule of law, not the claims, wishes and desires of different political parties and individuals. So therefore, statements, interviews as well as various methods of influence and pressure aimed at particular interests can in the first place be considered disrespect to the rule of law. On the other hand, launching an attack on a country that has nothing to do with this process in order to prevent another country’s initiative to leave the European Court for Human Rights and attempting to suggest so-called reasons for that can not be explained with any logic. We recommend Mr. Jagland looks for the reason of the UK wanting to leave the European Court for Human Rights either at the European Court or in the UK. It seems baseless attacks on different members under the pressure of external forces, and double standards exceeding all boundaries, tendentious claims have cut back on the trust of a country like the UK, which has democratic traditions, in the European Court, pushing it to reveal its intention of taking such a radical step. Mr Jagland is right in saying that the rights, freedom of expression and the judicial system in Europe are fading away. Azerbaijan is indeed tolerant enough in terms of the protection of national, human, and religious rights in comparison with many European countries and can be a model in this regard. I think that trying to blame young democracies instead of seriously analyzing the causes of the current situation in Europe is very easy and make this the situation even more complicated. We invite Mr Jagland to deeply contemplate this issue.

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