Trend's exclusive interview with Director of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), Christian Strohal
Question: Mr. Strohal, during your visit to Azerbaijan you sounded a proposal on the establishment of a joint working group on monitoring of situation with the human rights in Azerbaijan, which would comprise the representatives of the authorities, civil society and OSCE. Ho effective can be this initiative?
Answer: The Baku Office, as well as OSCE in general, hold different meetings in Azerbaijan and state their support to the activities of working groups. They also support the initiative on the establishment of joint working groups on the monitoring of the situation with human rights in Azerbaijan, which will include representatives of the authorities and civil society.
As to the efficiency of the activities under this initiative, I hope to see it, as it is dealt with the implementation of the international commitments.
Question: How do you estimate the situation with human right in Azerbaijan as compared to last year after you visit to the Country?
Answer: There are spheres related to human rights in Azerbaijan where there is success, as well as spheres which still need improvement. I will give you several examples. There are too many issues concerning the human rights which cannot be resolved within one or two days. To develop strong and independent judiciary takes efforts and time. To ensure that there are enough number of law-defenders. To defend the people accused in committing crimes requires time and big initiatives. To resolve the problem linked to protection of victims of human, which is on agenda, also requires time. Fighting with domestic violence is the big problem for all societies and the resolution of the problem requires initiatives by the authorities, as well as the society.
To prosecute the policeman, violating the human rights, does not take too much time. This can be done immediately
Question: The international organizations continue making statements on the state of media in Azerbaijan. At the same time the Azerbaijani authorities assert that the statements are based on biased reports by some journalists and representatives of the civil society in Azerbaijan.
- There is information that there is a problem with media in Azerbaijan. Media workers are in prison and there are problems with the violation of the law on slandering. We expect the press in this country to act fully in line with the right for freedom of expression. People can disagree with your opinion, but they have a right to listen to you. You also have a right of self-expression.
Question: How are you going to continue with Azerbaijan after your return?
Answer: My office and the OSCE Baku Office closely cooperate with Azerbaijani Government, and I expect the cooperation to be further strengthened.