Details added (first version posted on 15:05)
Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23
The US State Department's attitude to the events taking place in the socio-political, socio-economic and cultural life of Azerbaijan, as always, is biased, Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov told Trend on April 23.
Hasanov made the remarks commenting on a report on the situation in Azerbaijan, reflected in the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the US Department of State.
The methodology of the report’s preparation on each issue is based on the principle of ascertaining of one, in some cases, of several facts, their correspondence to interests of certain political circles, biased reflection, processing of the corresponding results and their generalization throughout the sphere, Hasanov noted.
Such an attitude, as well as absence of sources, as a rule, “reference” to some “experts”, “activists”, “NGO representatives” and similar incomprehensible “sources” cast serious doubts on the objectivity and transparency of the report, he added.
Hasanov emphasized that all elections held in Azerbaijan, including the 2013 presidential election, met the international standards and Azerbaijan's legislation, they were democratic, fair and transparent, and reflected the will of the people.
This fact was reflected in the conclusions and reports of numerous foreign and international observer groups, according to Hasanov.
"Azerbaijan is a democratic state, and independent activity of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities is ensured in the country in accordance with the norms of the Constitution. Therefore, we do not accept biased statements that downplay the image of the authorities and certain state bodies on the basis of some dubious "facts", and assess them as subjective judgment lacking any serious grounds," he said.
Hasanov went on to say that the freedom of speech and information, freedom of assembly, all democratic norms, including pluralism of opinions, are ensured in Azerbaijan.
"Hundreds of mass media outlets, a huge army of reporters operate absolutely freely in the country. The number of users of social networks is close to three millions, while 80 percent of the country's population uses the internet," Hasanov said.
He said that over 3,000 NGOs operate in Azerbaijan, which contribute to development of all spheres of the society through their initiatives and practical steps.
"Therefore, the allegations in the report on "limiting" the activities of the civil society institutions cause only regret."
"Along with the fact that the April 11 presidential election in Azerbaijan confirmed the satisfactory level of the electoral process culture in Azerbaijan's socio-political life, it also clearly demonstrated the level of parties' participation in the political processes," he said.
Hasanov emphasized that society in Azerbaijan, as in Europe and the US, rejects marginal political groups that are increasingly losing the opportunity to realize their ambitions.
"This does not mean shortcomings in Azerbaijan's political system; on the contrary, this is an important advantage providing security, stability, tolerance in the life of society. Unfortunately, these issues were reflected in a biased form in the State Department's report and undesirable conclusions were made. As for "political prisoners", "pressure", "arrests" and other similar allegations in the report, we believe there are more such facts in the Western countries. If the State Department comments on these facts by the same methodology, then we can imagine what the results will be," said Hasanov.