Problems Occurred during Demonstrations May be Resolved through Negotiations – Azerbaijani Party’s Leader
Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. S.Ilhamgizi / The Azerbaijani Musavat opposition party positively assesses changes that the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe proposes to inject to the bill of Freedom of Assembly of Azerbaijan, Isa Gambar, the leader of the party, said to Trend agency.
Since 2006 the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has been holding negotiations with the Azerbaijani Government to make changes to the bill of Freedom of Assembly ratified in 1998.
The head of the Constitutional Cooperation Department of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe Simon Granat-Mengkhini said in an interview with Trend that the proposed changes stipulate that citizens inform of planned rallies rather than having to receive permission. The Venice Commission also proposes to abolish bans concerning demonstrations in front of or near state buildings. The Azerbaijani bill obligates people to inform state bodies about planned demonstrations and rallies.
However, people have to get permission in order to hold a rally in Azerbaijan. Gambar said no permission is necessary in democratic countries. Moreover, the government must resolve problems during unsanctioned rallies through mutual understanding and negotiations. The state bodies that do not permit assemblies, disperse rallies where there is an absence of permission. State bodies which disperse rallies without reason violate bills of the country. Gambar considers the issue very real. The issue is currently under discussion in international organizations.
The ruling New Azerbaijan party considers the change unacceptable proposed by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe to the bill of Freedom of Assembly. The Deputy Executive Secretary of the Party, Mubariz Gurbanli said in an interview with Trend that "proposals by the Venice Commission cannot be accepted. Under the new changes anybody can hold rallies when and where they want, but such a bill may lead to chaos in the country. The Baku Executive Administration allocated special areas to hold rallies and demonstrations," Gurbanli said.
As a rule the state bodies give permission to people to hold rallies in Azerbaijan like in many foreign countries, Gurbanli added.
Musavat was founded in 1992. The leader of the party Isa Gambar had been the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament from 1992 to 1993. Gambar was a candidate in the presidential elections in 2003.