Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.24
Azerbaijan is a country committed to the fundamental democratic values, a country where civil society develops and all freedoms are protected, Head of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Public and Political Issues Department, Ali Hasanov said in his interview with AzerTAc news agency.
The top official was commenting on the critical statements of several international structures and foreign organizations, as well as some officials on the situation of human rights, freedom of speech and information in Azerbaijan.
Hasanov said currently, there is absolute freedom in Azerbaijan and hundreds of non-governmental organizations, media outlets operate in the country in accordance with the law, people freely express their opinion and the state fully supports the development of media and civil society institutions.
"Therefore, such appeals, statements and documents, worked out on the basis of the information received from three or five people without taking into account the public opinion in Azerbaijan, the NGOs, hundreds of media outlets, are biased, groundless and subjective," Hasanov said.
He said some local NGOs, financed by foreign funds, had been carrying out non-transparent activities for many years, ignoring the law and without reporting to the state bodies.
"The measures taken today to implement legal requirements and the relevant amendments to the laws regulating the activities of NGOs in accordance with the democratic standards of the West, aim to ensure the transparent activity of civil society institutions, their accountability and eliminate the shortcomings in this sphere," Hasanov said.
The lack of transparency in any sphere is one of the main factors paving the way for corruption and other offenses, said Hasanov.
"Of course, the activities of the organizations suspected of violating the law are investigated and necessary measures are taken upon confirmation of the facts. Some organizations that do not comply with the legal requirements of state bodies and spend millions worth of grants received from abroad, on shady dealings, which act as the 'heralds of democracy' do not like that."
"The 'fifth column' is deprived of the opportunity to fulfill its mission and this weakens the pressure of certain circles, which created this mechanism, on Azerbaijan," Hasanov said.
He said the activity of some foreign circles and the organizations subordinate to them, is related to this factor.
Unfortunately, in order to form a negative opinion about independent states, some foreign circles generalize certain distorted cases related to human rights, Hasanov said.
"This is a wrong approach. The severe intervention in the fair protest of residents in the Ferguson city of the state of Missouri, declaration of the state of emergency, the use of weapons, loss of life, tough restrictions on the rights of civil society activists and the press were characterized as the internal affair of the U.S. by the State Department representative," Hasanov said. "At the same time, some experts stated that the severe measures taken by the U.S. government are aimed at ensuring the social stability and public safety."
"But it is difficult to believe that a harsh crackdown of the peaceful protest of humanitarian nature, held in front of the UN headquarters in New York a day ago, was aimed at ensuring the public safety," Hasanov said.
"There is also sufficient evidence of harassment of journalists, control of information resources, the arrest of bloggers and other offenses in the United States and the developed European countries," Hasanov said.
"Of course, if we summarize all these cases, we can state that there is no democracy in the most developed countries of the world. A question arises: why the well-known circles which criticize Azerbaijan do not summarize these facts and do not express their opinion about the democracy in these countries? Unfortunately, these double standards are clearly demonstrated in the attitude of some western circles to the countries of our region," Hasanov said.
"Taking all this into account, we can state that the resolution adopted several days ago by the European Parliament, the opinions expressed by the U.S. representatives in the OSCE and the European Parliament, as well as those of the U.S. President Barrack Obama during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, the comments made in the annual reporting meeting of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw, the pretensions by the Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and other similar foreign organizations are biased and should be regarded as an attempt to put pressure on Azerbaijan's independent policy."
"We would like to bring to the attention of these circles that the main task of any state, including Azerbaijan, is to protect the national interests, ensure the sustainable development and public safety, as well as socio-political stability and peace in the country," Ali Hasanov said.
The top official added that Azerbaijan is an independent country implementing its domestic and foreign policy in accordance with the national interests and by no means intends to back down from its position or serve anyone's interests.